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enScribe™: the new generation of etching molecules for semiconductors

The Electronics business line of Air Liquide continues to innovate with enScribe™, a new family of etch gases designed to solve both technological and environmental challenges of the semiconductor industry.

Air Liquide Electronics business line supplies microprocessor manufacturers with specialty gases used for the etching chemical process of the chips found in our smartphones or computers.

The technological trend is to increase the performance and reduce the power consumption of electronic devices. The shrinking dimensions of computer chips and increasing device complexity makes their manufacturing even more complicated. 

One transistor measures around 10 nanometers. It is 10000 times smaller than a strand of our hair.

To face these technological challenges, Air Liquide R&D teams in the U.S. and in Japan, together with operations in entities, initiated the development of new etch materials as early as 2010. This was done in active partnership with customers at the cutting edge of technology, universities and original equipment manufacturers. In order to prepare the transition to the construction of 3D microchips, Air Liquide’s Research Centers have invested in additional skills and means for the screening of over a hundred potential advanced etch molecules. 

The culmination of these efforts is the launch of the enScribeTM product family in 2016 : “en” emphasizes Air Liquide’s focus on improving the environmental footprint and "Scribe" is a synonym for etch. 

The innovative enScribeTM molecules have been designed for  the 3D construction of new generation of memory chips. They are able to etch very deeply in the leading edge technologies. As Electronics customers were fully integrated in the development process of enScribeTM materials, this new offer already has a great success and a good growth path.

Fighting the global warming effects

The semiconductor industry is also concerned with the environmental effects of process materials, as etching gases have a high Global Warming Potential (GWP). The chemical structure of enScribeTM molecules has been redesigned so that, with the same performance, they have a lower lifetime in the atmosphere. 

enScribeTM materials thus bring two kind of advantages to semiconductor customers: not only do they address their new technical challenges, but they also bring environmental benefits by reducing the overall GWP footprint of their fab. 

Testimonial

"Through innovation and collaboration with its customers, Air Liquide is leading the way and developing a new portfolio of advanced etching specialty gases to solve both technological and environmental future challenges in the semiconductor industry"

Nathan Stafford , enScribe Manager

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