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Overcoming chip defectivity challenges in automotive product development

By Serena Brischetto, marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe

In the future, electronics-related gear including advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) will account for a whopping 50 percent of automotive costs.

More importantly, with more control of vehicles shifting to automation, the margin of error in component performance and reliability will become vanishingly small as zero defects become the new safety standard.

SEMI’s Serena Brischetto spoke with Antoine Amade, senior regional director EMEA, Entegris about zero defects as a “new collaborative approach” (see video below) necessary to shape the car of the future and the automotive industry.

Serena Brischetto, SEMI: The next generation of automobiles will be more electric, autonomous and connected. What is the most pressing next step for automotive players to pursue this goal?

Amade: The automotive ecosystem faces many challenges. For example, when cars become autonomous, their interaction with the cloud and the massive amount of data computed simultaneously could be vulnerable to cyberattacks capable of seizing control of the vehicle.

Another example is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as there is a big opportunity to explore and define the right architecture while also meeting automotive quality requirements.

The quality challenge will be amplified by advanced nodes. Reliability is also critical since 90 percent of device failures are extrinsic, or unrelated to device design.

Today, the top priority should be to eliminate latent defects, those that remain undetected until the product is in use.

These latent defects may appear at some future point in the life of vehicle – 1 month, 1 year, 10 years, and so on. This is the vital focus of the carmaker and the supply chain.

SEMI: With in-line metrology tools reaching their detection limits, how will the industry reduce latent defects?

Amade: Minimizing latent defects is now a top priority in semiconductor fabs. However, there is a gap between visible and non-visible defects. Although fabs can detect small defects, human intervention is still needed to manage them.

We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the contamination control strategy in auto chip production, from contamination control for yield to contamination control for reliability.

The shift is born of the recognition that all particles, regardless of size, and parts per trillion (ppt) concentration levels of contaminants matter, impact both defectivity and reliability.

Contamination management will play a key role in enabling the industry to reach parts per billion (ppb) failure rates at the component level.

SEMI: How will the industry reach the goal of zero defects?

Amade: A sound contamination management strategy that follows three main axes of actions will be one key to reaching zero defects: the ambient air in the fab, the wafer’s environment over its lifetime, and the integrity of the materials in the clean chemical delivery pathway.

Contamination management in each of these three areas presents opportunities to limit process variability. The first step in limiting variation is detecting it, which can be difficult when the contaminants causing the variation are hard to identify or caused by an unexpected event.

When a contaminant signature can be detected, it leaves clues to its root cause. Careful scrutiny of these signatures can inform a contamination control strategy to eliminate the root cause and reduce overall defectivity.

SEMI: What collaborative engagement model do you see as the best for reaching zero defects?

Amade: Entegris sees the SEMI Global Advisory Automotive Council (GAAC) as the perfect collaboration platform for the entire automotive semiconductor ecosystem, from car manufacturers to material suppliers.

Entegris is also a member of the Platform for Automotive Semiconductor Requirement Across the Supply Chain (PASRASC). Both forums help raise the visibility of key challenges and potential solutions.

Collaboration starts with agreement on a definition of automotive based on existing standards and guidelines that must be communicated across the value chain.

Another important element for collaboration is standardizing on how new materials such as SiC Semiconductors (silicon carbide) should be used. Entegris plays a leading role in contamination management for defectivity reduction through its New Collaborative Approach (NCA) platform, which brings a new level of knowledge sharing to all those involved in detecting and improving defectivity.

SEMI: Can you explain the New Collaborative Approach in more detail?

Amade: During the SEMI Smart Transportation Forum at SEMICON Europa, we presented the process and tools we have been developing in collaboration with car makers and are implementing with chipmakers as part of our New Collaborative Approach.

Our data-driven tools compare current contamination solutions practices and identify optimization opportunities.

A good indicator of the maturity of the ecosystem, the tools allow chipmakers to compare the contamination mitigation practices of peers with their own and identify hot topics for advancing contamination management strategies.

Every year, during Entegris Technology Days, we share best known methods, case studies, and review fab processes in order to propose customized solutions. It is all about improving defectivity.

Amade joined Entegris in 1995 as an Application Engineer in its semiconductor business. In his current role as EMEA/NA senior director, Amade is focused primary on growing the semiconductor business in Europe and Middle East through market strategies, and the management of sales, customer service, and marketing teams.

Amade held leadership positions at Entegris in functions including gas microcontamination market management, strategic account management, and regional sales management.

Amade has a degree in Chemical Engineering from ENS Chimie Lille and is a member of the SEMI Electronic Materials Group and the Global Automotive Advisory Council for Europe (GAAC). 

Republished with permission from SEMI Europe

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