Fab equipment maker DIT has begun supplying laser annealing equipment to chip giant SK Hynix, TheElec has learned.
Annealing equipment is used to repair wafers that are damaged after ion injection.
During the ion injection process, Group 3 or Group 5 dopants such as B, I or As are injected into the wafer to run electric currents on it. These dopants are bonded with the silicon, but sometimes they are not bonded and annealing is used to fix this.
In annealing, heat is used to bond the dopant with the silicon. Previously, a furnace was used for this but today tungsten halogen lamps are used for fast annealing. However, when using this fast annealing technique, the temperature between the center and edges of the wafer may vary, causing the wafer to warp.
Laser annealing was introduced to solve this problem. Laser is used only on the part of the wafer that is defective to avoid warpage.
Both South Korean chip makers are adopting laser annealing in their chip production; SK Hynix is collaborating with DIT while Samsung is working with EO Technics.
DIT’s equipment went through a long quality test by SK Hynix before it passed, sources said.
DIT will be providing a small number of units of the laser annealing equipment and began massive supply next year. They will be used in the production of latest DRAMs by SK Hynix, they added.
DIT recorded 24.1 billion won in revenue and 1.5 billion won in operating loss in the first quarter. Out of its revenue, 93.7% came from automated optical inspection equipment, while laser equipment only accounted for 2.7% of the total. But the supply deal with SK Hynix is expected to change this.
Meanwhile, DIT is also going through a quality test by LG Energy Solution for its battery inspection equipment.
DIT declined to comment on the matter.