SEMSYSCO and Atotech have collaborated to develop and deliver a unique, integrated solution for optimum electroless plating in advanced packaging technologies. Atotech’s proven Xenolyte© product line will be paired with SEMSYSCO’s cutting edge electroless plating system, GALAXY, to deliver an unparalleled pad metallization process which promises high throughput and fine line capability.

The goal of the cooperation is to combine the best of two production methods – the high throughput achieved with wet bench plating and the successful plating of fine lines typically achieved in a batch spray tool. This leading edge technology will encompass a spray batch pretreatment, followed by the electroless plating of nickel, palladium and (if needed) immersion gold in a wet bench system with Atotech proven design and technology. The final rinsing and drying will take place in a designated Spin Rinse Dryer (SRD) chamber. The ancosys ancolyzer on-line system will be used for monitoring and dosing the plating bath compounds. The system will be fully automated and will be optimized for easy maintenance and cleaning.

Herbert Oetzlinger, CEO of SEMSYSCO said of the partnership, “We are extremely pleased to be working with Atotech on the electroless project; it will enable us to bring to the market quickly a challenging process that is more stable and cost effective than existing tool/process combinations. The use of both immersion and kinetic spray systems in one tool coupled with the experience of both companies’ personnel ensures a short time to market of a fully automatic, high throughput system.”

Optimal Electroless Plating for All Applications

Atotech’s Xenolyte© product line is used for the electroless deposition of nickel, palladium and immersion gold for wire bonding and soldering. Applications range from standard pad metallization for bonding, to the housing of copper redistribution layer (RDL) structures for both copper and aluminum materials. The electroplating requirements vary depending on the application.

RDL structures, which are made up of fine lines and spaces, require an improved flow system and are typically plated in a batch spray tool. The process disadvantages are low throughput resulting in high costs per wafer.
The structures in pad metallization technologies are less dimension-critical and therefore can be plated in a wet bench. Though throughput is significantly better than in a batch spray tool, fine line plating has not been consistently demonstrated in a wet bench. Further, wet bench systems are typically greater in size and therefore occupy more clean room space – this in turn increases the total cost of ownership associated with the process.

The Xenolyte – GALAXY electroless process was designed to address the needs of both plating applications. On this, Atotech President Reinhard Schneider said, “This new technology will enable our customers to successfully plate complex structures for different applications with high aspect ratios and fine lines, with the benefit of a significantly improved throughput compared to other tools. The Xenolyte – GALAXY electroless process is an unprecedented technology which will prove more cost effective, process efficient and environmentally friendly than what is currently available in the market”.

The first GALAXY test lines have been installed at Atotech’s Semiconductor Technology TechCenter in Berlin, Germany. Research and development for the next smaller structures on the electroless modules for nickel and palladium are currently underway. The estimated release date for commercial availability is the second quarter of 2013.