ISAC, a South Korean small and medium semi-conductor equipment manufacturer, has joined a project aiming at localizing Atom Layer Deposition (ALD) equipment from a Chinese partner. A conference on the subject matter held in Hilton Hotel Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China on February 16 was made public later.
"Korea’s Isaac Research has set up a local corporation called ISAC Semiconductor and with its Chinese counterpart to manufacture semiconductor ALD equipment,” said DRAMeXchange Taiwan end of last month. "We will also realize our goal of increasing the ratio of equipment to China’s semiconductor industries". According to the China National Corporate Credit Information Service on Nov 1, the ISAC China was established on Sep 26 of this year with 10 million RMB (approximately 1.6 billion KRW) worth of capital. Hunan Ronghao Corporation and Qianhaibeiyijin Corporation are the only two shareholders solely owned by Shenzhen Rongchuang Development. Both are composed of one corporation (previous development) and one individual. The share price has not been disclosed. Shenzhen's propaganda seems to be taking actual control of the ISAC through the two said corporations.
The capital of Shenzhen Rongchuang Development, established in May 2016, is 30 million RMB (4.35 billion KRW) and the CEO, Fang Jianwen, owns 100% of the business. The relationship between ISAC Research (ISAC Korea) and ISAC (ISAC China) in terms of stock holding has not been confirmed by the Chinese Enterprise Information Disclosure Service.
The homepage of ISAC China (isac-ald.com) pursuing localization of China’s semiconductor ALD equipment, is almost identical to that of Korea's ISAC Research's (isacresearch.com) except for company introduction and address.
It is very unusual for a company to use other company’s name on its website without any relationship with its shares. It is also rare for South Korean companies to participate in China's equipment production, chasing after the semiconductor field at an alarming rate.
According to the data on DRAMeXchange, the CEO Park Hyung-sang said at a semiconductor ALD equipment localization conference, that ISAC Research is not only the best in South Korea but its penetration into China will help to improve production process of semiconductor firms to the extent of developing the 20nm and below.
"In the wake of the trade war with the US, technology is facing more obstacles especially in the IC industry," said Zheng Zhiqiang, executive director of ISAC China. About 15 days after the presentation, the US government imposed a measure to restrict export of equipment and software to Chinese DRAM maker Fujian Jinhua Development IC (JHIC).
ISAC Research is planning to supply ALD equipment to SK Hynix's Wuxi plant and Samsung Electronics' Huizhou production line at the end of next year. Both factories respectively manufacture DRAM and smartphones. ISAC Research has been testing its Plasma-Enhanced ALD equipment at SK Hynix's production line at its Icheon M14 plant in South Korea, while Samsung's Suwon plant and Vietnam plant have both been certified.
ISAC Research, located in Daeduk, Daejeon, made about 3 billion KRW in sales last year. They participated in an ALD and ALE (Atom Layer Etching) system development project led by the government and supplied equipment to ETRI, a government-funded research institute, and also Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Sungkyunkwan University, and Hanyang University.
ALD is an atomic deposition control technology dealing with atoms that are 0.1 to 0.5nm in diameter. It is suitable for micro-processing semiconductors and has been pointed out as a limitation that takes a long time to create thin films as it goes through many stages for the pre-cursor in gas-condition. That includes generating and absorbing substrate and reacting with a reactant. PEALD is a technology that improves processing speed of current ALD by generating plasma.