Sol-Gel PZT, a turn-key solution from Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions Co.,Ltd.

To download the JPEG format, please click Gallery

Lyon, France - November 13, 2014Yole Développement has identified a growing interest for thin film PZT in the semiconductor industry, due to its very promising piezoelectric properties. For example, Epson has released its second generation inkjet head based on thin film PZT technology for small offices applications, proving the maturity of thin film PZT technology. The French consulting company interviews the world leader supplier of PZT Sol-Gel materials, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (MMC) and its partner, SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions Co., Ltd. Both companies highlight the importance of thin film PZT technology for MEMS companies and detail their collaboration…

MMC has started Sol-Gel R&D for ferroelectric film in CRI, in 1989. The mass production started then, at SANDA plant in Japan in 1999. MMC met with success its first application: FRAM. 2005 has been the year for the ramp-up for a new application: IPD for smart phones. R&D for MEMS applications really started then, in 2012.

“Today, as FRAM and IPD applications are well established, MEMS applications are, for our company, the key new growth area”, says Mr Nishiyama, Manager for SG business at the Advanced Materials Division, Electronic Materials & Components Company, MMC. “Indeed multiple new MEMS devices are now using Sol-Gel PZT”, he adds.

Under this context, MMC daily works with its MEMS customers and takes into account their requirements. For example, MMC developed a new PZT-N solution allowing the MEMS companies to reduce the multi-step deposition of Sol-Gel PZT. “MMC created a new solution enabling thicker layer per coat and reducing the number of steps. This development was based on our long experience of PZT Sol-Gel”, explains Mr Nishiyama. According to MMC, PZT-N Sol-Gel material is today, the product enabling easier processing capabilities, yield increase and production cost reduction.

“Today, as FRAM and IPD applications are well established, MEMS applications are, for our company, the key new growth area..." (Mr Nishiyama, MMC)

Thin film PZT deposition integration is complex for piezoelectric MEMS devices manufacturing, and only few companies have been successful to stabilize their process. “The main reason is that PZT Sol-Gel deposition process is very sensitive to the processing conditions such as spin, temperature uniformity, exhaust condition, atmosphere… and also to equipment configurations”, details Mr Nishiyama.
Hence, MMC decides to work on a global solution that combines chemicals and equipment. The aim of this approach is to define all conditions of deposition and proposes a combined and turnkey solution to its customers.
SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions is closely working with MMC to develop the related equipment: Sol-Gel coater and infra-red lamp annealer. MMC’s partner creates an equipment dedicated to PZT Sol-Gel mass production and using the best process conditions for MMC solution.
“The TKS process evaluation using each customer device wafers is available in our Process Technology Center (PTC), located in Hikone, Japan. Such support helps users of the Sol-Gel PZT materials to go into volume production much faster”, says Mr. Nagashima, Manager for the Product Strategy Department, Business Management Division, Semiconductor Equipment Company, SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions.
According to Mr Nagashima, good uniformity, high productivity and optimization for best process condition are the key words to offer the best solutions to the MEMS companies. Over the years, MMC and SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions built a relationship of trust through various cooperations dedicated to Sol-Gel PZT evaluations, in real conditions.
According to both partners, 2014 is the year of introduction of their innovative solution, with multiple presentations and active collaborations with customers in development. “We think, many companies can start mass production of Piezoelectric MEMS devices, from now to 2020. We wish our innovative PZT-N TKS solution will become de facto, a standard process of PZT thin film deposition”, says Mr Nagashima. “And of course we are expecting a strong growth of MMC sales with these PZT materials!” he adds.

Last December, Yole Développement released is technology and market report, Thin Film PZT for Semiconductor Application Trends & Technology Update. Under this analysis, Claire Troadec, Technology & Market Analyst, Semiconductor Manufacturing at Yole Développement explains: “Thin film PZT has been used for years in the manufacturing of FeRam and also integrated passive devices. In 2013, this market reached $286M, with a CAGR of more than 5% for the next 5 years”.
In addition to such applications, MEMS players are also considering thin film PZT for multiple applications. Fujifilm Dunatix and Epson with inkjet heads are examples; Panasonic and Silicon Sensing Systems with their gyroscopes’ application is another one.
In its report, Yole Développement also identified emerging MEMS applications: “Today, auto-focus, infra-red detectors, hard disc heads, pumps and valves for microfluidics represent real business opportunities for industrials. They require effective actuators and micro-mirrors that could take full benefit of the PZT properties”, says Dr Eric Mounier, Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Yole Développement. In 2013, MEMS thin film PZT applications represented a combined market of $350M (Source: Thin Film PZT for Semiconductor Application Trends & Technology Update, Dec. 2013, Yole Développement).
However, despite of promising business developments, such applications are still waiting for simpler way to process thin film PZT…

More information about the report Thin Film PZT for Semiconductor Application Trends & Technology Update, is available on, Semiconductor Manufacturing reports section.

Connect with us

About the report

Newsletter subscription

About Yole Développement