This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Thin Film Equipment Market Runs Wild

Stocks in this article: AMAT NVLS ASMI

The film deposition equipment market for semiconductor manufacturing was down 38% in 2009, but on a sector-by-sector basis, sales dropped between 8.7% to 71.7%.

The huge variation in sector non-growth is attributed to the transition to copper damascene processing from aluminum interconnects for memory devices. The adoption of copper in memory devices is currently under way and all memory suppliers, led by Samsung, spent huge sums of money upgrading as many of its lines as it could to copper and this change had an important impact on purchases of copper deposition equipment and materials in 2009.

The deposition equipment business has become highly selective, and certain types of equipment work better on a given technology or device than others. For example, HDPCVD (high-density plasma chemical vapor deposition) is a technology which can do gap-fill. For subtractive Al technology, in which you lay down a slab of Al, etch it into lines, and then fill the gaps with oxide, these technologies do well.

In the Cu dual damascene scheme, the dielectric is laid down as a planar film, etched, and the gaps are filled with metal. Thus, the metal deposition technology needs to be able to do gap-fill, not the dielectric. PECVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition) is the technology of choice. In fact, there are more than 20 PECVD processing steps required to fabricate a typical memory device.

Key players in the deposition market are Applied Materials (AMAT - Get Report), Novellus (NVLS) and ASM International (ASMI - Get Report). Applied Materials held a 64% share of the market followed by Novellus with a 22% share.

The growth of the PVD market was strong for the deposition of the copper barrier metal, which is typically a bi-layer of Ta/TaN, or TiN. However, the transition to memory presents challenges. As feature size continues to shrink, a thinner barrier metal is required to maximize copper volume in the damascene structure and maintain effective resistivity. Ultra-thin barrier metals must achieve optimum step coverage, density, and morphology in high aspect ratio trenches and vias.

Samsung announced Monday it would double its capital spending to boost its capacity in semiconductor and flat-panel display manufacturing. As stated, Samsung's move to copper interconnects for memory devices was instrumental in preventing some sectors of the deposition equipment market from following the course of the overall semiconductor equipment market, which dropped 42% in 2009.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,387.21 -291.49 -1.65%
S&P 500 2,029.55 -27.54 -1.34%
NASDAQ 4,681.4970 -90.2660 -1.89%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs