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Surface Technology Systems Raises the Bar With New Pegasus System for Deep Reactive Ion Etching Applications

NEWPORT, Wales, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Surface Technology Systems plc (STS) (LSE: SRTS - News ), a leader in plasma process technologies for the growing MEMS and related markets, today announced the release of Pegasus, a new Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) system, optimised initially for silicon etch, that delivers significant improvements in etch process capability, stability and system reliability.

Pegasus is the continuation of STS' Advanced Silicon Etch (ASE®) technology. Through an in-depth understanding of the Bosch process and the required hardware, etch rates for silicon greater than 25µm per minute with excellent profile control and resist selectivity have been realised. The performance improvements that Pegasus brings have numerous benefits for end users. The increased etch rate and improved uniformity lead to higher throughput and device yield, meaning increased productivity.

The Pegasus process module incorporates a range of developments and enhancements, the key feature being a high uniformity plasma source design. This high-density decoupled source has been shown to increase etch rates by 30% over competing systems and mask selectivity by 35% or more.

The unique design of Pegasus leads to a more uniform plasma at the wafer surface resulting in improved across-wafer uniformity for both etch rate and critical dimension control. Pegasus also includes a range of software and hardware features that provide further advances in reduced feature roughness and improved profile control while maintaining high etch rates. As standard, Pegasus incorporates STS' patented Parameter Ramping and Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technologies.

Pegasus has been optimised for reliability and ease of maintenance by adopting a modular design concept that also results in a reduced footprint and improved accessibility. The combination of all of these features ensures a high performing, low cost of ownership solution to meet the highest industry expectation. The system is fully compatible with any of STS' modular platform configurations, from single wafer load-lock to full production cluster systems, enabling a smooth transition from research and development right through to volume production.

"The release of Pegasus is very significant news as it brings advanced processes to the MEMs market and also helps make those applications currently in research and development commercially viable," commented Leslie Lea, director of research and development at STS. "In emerging markets such as advanced wafer packaging, the higher selectivity and etch rate that Pegasus offers make the fabrication of through wafer interconnects viable. System-in-a-package (SiPs) incorporating MEMs, optoelectronics and bio chips can now be realised. As the electronics and technology industries move from applications using microtechnology to those using nanotechnology, Pegasus really comes into its own."

"Over the last 12 months, Pegasus has been extensively tested and proven on samples of existing and emerging products supplied by our customers," added Mr. Mutsuo Mukuda, Vice Chairman, STS. "Building on the success of STS' proven market-leading ASE technology, the introduction of Pegasus has already resulted in several orders from companies with demanding applications in production environments. We expect to see a significant impact on sales to corporate R&D and mass-production customers utilising deep silicon etch processes."

About Surface Technology Systems plc

STS designs and manufactures a range of highly specialized systems incorporating innovative technology used in the production of semiconductors and related devices and is a leader in plasma based etch and deposition technologies for processing non 'mainstream' semiconductor devices. STS serves a range of applications in several emerging sectors within the telecommunications, data storage, advanced packaging, MEMS and Nanotechnology.

STS is the market leader in deep silicon etching for the growing MEMS market, offering patent-protected technology. In addition, STS has a strong presence in each of its other served markets and distributes its process solutions worldwide through an experienced sales and service operation. The Group currently markets in over 30 countries and has an installed base of over 800 systems. For more information about STS please see http://www.stsystems.com .
Source: Surface Technology Systems plc

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