The sputtering process that is used repeatedly in the manufacturing process of very large scale integrated circuits is one of the physical vapor deposition (PVD) technologies, and is one of the main techniques for preparing electronic thin film materials, which utilizes ions generated by ion sources. Accelerated aggregation in high vacuum, forming a high-speed energy ion beam, bombarding the solid surface, kinetic energy exchange between the ions and solid surface atoms, leaving the solid surface atoms away from the solid and deposited on the surface of the substrate, the bombarded solid is splashed The raw material for film deposition is called a sputtering target.
The working principle of the sputtering target is as follows:
Generally, the sputtering target is mainly composed of a target blank, a back plate and the like, wherein the target blank is a target material for high-speed ion beam bombardment, and belongs to the core part of the sputtering target, and the target is in the sputtering coating process. After the billet is struck by ions, the surface atoms are sputtered and deposited on the substrate to form an electronic film. Because of the low strength of the high-purity metal, the sputtering target needs to be installed in a dedicated machine to complete the sputtering process. The inside of the machine is a high-voltage, high-vacuum environment. Therefore, the ultra-high-purity metal sputtering target needs to be joined to the back plate through different welding processes, and the back plate functions mainly to fix the sputtering target, and Need to have good electrical and thermal conductivity.
There are many types of sputtering targets, and even sputtering targets of the same material have different specifications. According to different classification methods, the sputtering targets can be divided into different categories, and the main classifications are as follows:
Classified by shape: long target, square target, round target
Classified by chemical composition: metal target (pure metal aluminum, titanium, copper, tantalum, etc.), alloy target (nickel-chromium alloy, nickel-cobalt alloy, etc.), ceramic compound target (oxide, silicide, carbide, vulcanization) Things, etc.)
Classified by application area: semiconductor chip target, flat panel display target, solar cell target, information storage target, tool modified target, electronic device target, other target
In the field of sputtering target applications, semiconductor chips have set extremely stringent standards for the purity of metal materials and internal microstructure of sputtering targets. It is necessary to master the key technologies in the production process and to make them through long-term practice. Products that meet the process requirements, therefore, semiconductor chips have the highest requirements for sputtering targets and are the most expensive; compared to semiconductor chips, flat-panel displays and solar cells have slightly lower purity and technical requirements for sputtering targets. However, as the size of the target increases, higher requirements are placed on the welding bonding ratio and flatness of the sputtering target. In addition, the sputtering target needs to be installed in a sputtering machine to complete the sputtering process. The sputtering machine has a strong specificity, and limits the shape, size and precision of the sputtering target.
Second, the industry chain
The high-purity sputtering target industry belongs to the field of electronic materials, and its upstream and downstream relationship in the industry chain is as follows:
Ultra-high purity metals and sputtering targets are important components of electronic materials. The sputtering target industry chain mainly includes metal purification, target manufacturing, sputter coating and end applications, among which target manufacturing and sputter coating The link is the key link in the entire sputtering target industry chain.
High purity sputtering target industry chain
High-purity and ultra-high-purity metal materials are the basis for the production of high-purity sputtering targets. For example, sputtering targets for semiconductor chips are used. If the impurity content of the sputtering target is too high, the formed film cannot meet the requirements for use. The electrical properties, and the formation of particles on the wafer during the sputtering process, resulting in short circuit or damage to the circuit, seriously affecting the performance of the film. In general, high-purity metal purification is divided into chemical purification and physical purification. In order to obtain higher purity metal materials and maximize the removal of impurities, it is necessary to combine chemical purification and physical purification. After purifying the metal to a relatively high purity, it is often necessary to use other metal elements in order to be put into use. In this process, steps such as smelting, alloying and casting are required: by purifying high-purity metals, removing oxygen, nitrogen, etc. Excess gas; a small amount of alloying elements are added to make it fully integrated with high-purity metal and evenly distributed; finally, it is cast into a defect-free ingot to meet the requirements of metal composition and size during production and processing.
The sputtering target manufacturing process first needs to design the process according to the performance requirements of the downstream application field, and then carry out repeated plastic deformation and heat treatment. It is necessary to precisely control the key indexes such as grain and crystal orientation, and then pass through welding, machining, cleaning and drying. , vacuum packaging and other processes. The processes involved in the manufacture of sputtering targets are delicate and numerous, and the process flow management and manufacturing process levels directly affect the quality and yield of the sputtering target.
Sputter coating refers to a process in which an object is spattered and scattered by an object, and a sputtered object adheres to a target substrate to form a thin film. The sputtering target is a target material for high-speed energy-energy particle bombardment. This link is the most demanding part of the production equipment and technical process in the sputtering target industry chain. The quality of the sputtered film has an important impact on the quality of downstream products. In the process of sputter coating, the sputtering target needs to be installed in the machine to complete the sputtering reaction. The sputtering machine has high specificity and high precision. The market has long been monopolized by American and Japanese multinational groups. The main equipment suppliers include AMAT ( Well-known companies in the United States, ULVAC (Japan), ANELVA (Japan), Varian (USA), ULVAC (Japan) and other industries.
The terminal application is made up of end-user products using packaged components for various market needs, including terminal consumer electronic products such as automotive electronics, smart phones, tablets, and household appliances. Usually, after the semiconductor target is sputter coated, the coated silicon wafer needs to be cut and packaged. Encapsulation refers to the process of connecting a circuit with a wire to an external connector to connect with other devices, not only to protect the chip, but also to isolate the chip from the outside, to prevent impurities in the air from corroding the chip circuit and damaging the conductive. performance. In addition, terminal applications include the preparation of solar cells, optical coatings, tool modification, high-end decorative items, etc. This section has a wide technical range and presents diverse features.
Globally, the number of participating companies in the sputtering target industry chain is basically pyramid-shaped. The high-purity sputtering target manufacturing process has high technical thresholds and large equipment investment. The number of enterprises with large-scale production capacity is relatively small, mainly Distributed in the United States, Japan and other countries and regions, some of which simultaneously carry out metal purification business, extending the industrial chain to the upstream sector; some enterprises only have the production capacity of sputtering targets, high-purity metals need upstream supply. The application of the highest end of the sputtering target is in the field of VLSI chip manufacturing. In this field, only a few companies in the US and Japan (Nippon Mining Metal, Honeywell, Tosoh, Praxair, etc.) are engaged in related businesses. An industry monopolized by multinational corporations.
As a sputtering target client, the number of companies with large-scale production capacity in the sputter coating process is relatively large, but the quality is uneven. The well-known companies such as the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Korea are in the leading position in technology, with high brand awareness and market influence. Lida, usually will expand the industry chain to downstream applications, using technology leadership and high-end brands to quickly occupy the end consumer market, such as IBM, Philips, Toshiba, Samsung and so on.
The terminal application link is the largest in the entire industry chain. The development and production of its products are scattered in various industries. At the same time, this link has outstanding labor-intensive characteristics. The number of participating enterprises is the largest, and the investment in machinery and equipment is generally distributed. Japan, Taiwan, China and China, and gradually shift production plants to countries and regions with low labor costs.
The industrial distribution of sputtering target has certain regional characteristics. The industrial chain of American and Japanese multinational corporations is complete, covering all aspects of metal purification, target manufacturing, sputter coating and terminal application, with large-scale production capacity, after mastering advanced technology. The implementation of monopoly and blockade dominates technological innovation and industrial development; South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have specialties in the fields of magnetic recording and optical film. In addition, due to the early development of the chip and LCD panel industry in the above-mentioned regions, the service division is clearly defined, and professional OEM services such as welding, cleaning and packaging can be provided for brand enterprises downstream of the industrial chain, and the upstream basic materials and downstream terminal applications can be docked. To the role of the link, and to a certain extent promote the product development and market expansion of the upstream sputtering target. However, the target service providers in the above-mentioned regions lack core technologies and equipment, and the target materials that cannot form a competitive sputtering target in the core technology fields such as metal purification and organization control are still dependent on imports from the United States and Japan. Ultra-high-purity metal materials and sputtering targets are still relatively new in China. The downstream sputter coatings and end users represented by chip manufacturers and LCD panel manufacturers are increasing their production capacity. From a global perspective, the trend of the manufacturing of chips and LCD panel industry to mainland China has intensified, and China is welcoming investment peaks in this field. The market demand for high-end sputtering targets is growing rapidly.
Third, the global development of sputtering target industry
Since the sputtering coating process originated from abroad, the required sputtering target products have high performance requirements and strong professional applicability. Therefore, the development and production of global sputtering targets have been concentrated in a few companies in the United States and Japan for a long time. The concentration is quite high. Sputter target manufacturers represented by multinational groups such as Honeywell (USA), Nippon Mining Metals (Japan), and Tosoh (Japan) have been involved in this field earlier. After decades of technological accumulation, they have relied on their strong The technical strength, fine production control and excellent product quality occupy the dominant position in the global sputtering target market, occupying the majority of market share. After mastering the core technology of sputtering target production, these companies implement extremely strict confidentiality measures to limit the diffusion of technology, while continuously expanding horizontally and vertically, and actively expanding the business reach to various application fields of sputter coating. Grasping the initiative of the global sputtering target market and leading the technological advancement of the global sputtering target industry.
Fourth, the development of China's sputtering target industry
Affected by the development history and technical limitations, the sputtering target industry started late in China and still belongs to a newer industry. Compared with the sputtering targets produced by internationally renowned companies, there are still some gaps in the development and production technology of sputtering targets in China. The market influence is relatively limited, especially in the fields of semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar cells, etc., global high-purity sputtering. The target market is still dominated or monopolized by sputtering target manufacturers in the US and Japan. With the development of sputtering targets towards higher purity and larger size, China's sputtering target manufacturers only continue to carry out research and development innovation, have strong product development capabilities, and develop sputtering targets for different application fields. In order to gain a foothold in the global sputtering target market.
Downstream industries such as semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, and solar cells have high requirements for product quality and stability. In order to strictly control product quality, downstream customers, especially globally renowned manufacturers, when selecting suppliers, suppliers are qualified for certification. Higher and longer certification period. In order to enter the international market, China's high-purity sputtering target enterprises must first pass the industrial quality management system standards set by some international organizations and industry associations for high-purity sputtering targets. For example, semiconductor manufacturers applying for automotive electronics generally require upstream. Sputter target suppliers can pass the ISO/TS16949 quality management system certification, and the sputtering target manufacturers used in electrical equipment need to meet the RoHS mandatory standards established by the European Union. Secondly, semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar cells, etc. are well known downstream. Customers have established a very complete customer certification system. On the basis of high-purity sputtering target suppliers meeting the industry quality management system certification, downstream customers will often conduct qualified suppliers to suppliers according to their own quality management requirements. Certification. The certification process mainly includes several stages such as technical review, product quotation, sample testing, small batch trial, mass production, etc. The certification process is quite demanding. From new product development to high-volume supply, the whole process generally takes 2-3 years. In order to reduce the cost of supplier development and maintenance and ensure the continuity of product quality, the downstream target customers will maintain long-term and stable cooperation with the sputtering target suppliers after passing the qualification certification of downstream customers. Easy to change suppliers, and lean to quality suppliers in terms of technical cooperation and supply share.
In recent years, benefiting from the country's strategic and sustained support for the development and application of the electronic materials industry, a small number of companies specializing in the development and production of high-purity sputtering targets have emerged in China, and a number of high-end applications have been successfully developed. The sputtering target in the field provides a good R&D basis and market conditions for the large-scale industrialization of high-purity sputtering targets. By industrializing the research and development of sputtering targets and actively participating in the international market competition of sputtering targets, China's sputtering target manufacturers have made great progress in technology and market, changing high-purity sputtering targets. Long-term dependence on the unfavorable situation of imports. At present, domestic enterprises such as Jiangfeng Co., Ltd. have mastered the key technologies for the production of high-purity sputtering targets, accumulated rich industrial experience, and have a certain market reputation, which has been recognized by world-renowned customers.
V. Sputtering target market capacity and development trend
As the mainstream process for the preparation of thin film materials, sputtering technology has a wide range of applications, such as integrated circuits, flat panel displays, solar cells, information storage, tool modification, optical coating, electronic devices, high-end decorative products and other industries. High-purity sputtering targets are mainly used in fields requiring higher material purity and stability, such as integrated circuits, flat panel displays, solar cells, recording media, smart glass and other industries.
Since the 1990s, with the rapid development of the terminal application market such as consumer electronics, the market size of high-purity sputtering targets has been expanding, showing a trend of rapid growth. According to statistics, the annual sales of the world high-purity sputtering target market in 2015 was about 9.48 billion US dollars. It is predicted that in the next five years, the market size of the world's sputtering target will exceed US$16 billion, and the market growth rate of the high-purity sputtering target market will reach 13%.
At present, high-purity sputtering target products are mainly used in the semiconductor industry, flat panel display industry and solar cell industry. The market capacity and development trends in these areas are as follows:
(1) Semiconductor industry
High-purity sputtering targets have emerged along with the development of the semiconductor industry, and the integrated circuit industry has become one of the main application fields of high-purity sputtering targets. With the rapid development of information technology, the integration of integrated circuits is required to be higher and higher, and the size of unit devices in circuits is continuously shrinking. Each unit device is internally composed of a substrate, an insulating layer, a dielectric layer, a conductor layer and a protective layer. The dielectric layer, the conductor layer and even the protective layer are all subjected to a sputter coating process, so the sputtering target is prepared and integrated. One of the core materials of the circuit. The target for coating in the field of integrated circuits mainly includes aluminum target, titanium target, copper target, tantalum target, tungsten-titanium target, etc. The target is required to have high purity, generally above 5N (99.999%).
Trapped in the financial crisis that broke out in 2008, the global semiconductor market 2