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Commercial services of polishing and reclaiming 3C-SiC wafers

Semiconductor device manufacturers have stringent requirements on wafer surfaces, in particular:
- Low roughness (typically a few Angstrom);
- No scratches visible under microscope;
- Low contamination with particulates or electrically active chemical elements;
- No damaged layer below the surface;
- Controlled flatness.

SiC presents specific challenges for polishing: as a very hard material (third only to Diamond and Boron Nitride) and chemically inert, Silicon Carbide generates exceptional difficulties for polishing, as the traditional Chemical-Mechanical Polishing (CMP) techniques used for Silicon or other established semi-conductors do not operate.

NOVASiC was able to demonstrate early on that state of the art techniques developed to polish Hexagonal SiC material are not suitable for the 3C-SiC poly-type.
During the SOLSiC project, NOVASiC has succeeded in developing specific processes for this material, in order to provide epi-ready surfaces to the users. State of the art specifications were obtained, featuring 3 to 5 Angstrom roughness, no scratches, ultra clean surface and no subsurface damage.

The process has been demonstrated on various sizes (10x10 samples and up to 3 inch wafers), and on material from various sources: bulk 3C-SiC, free-standing material from HOYA as well as 3C-SiC on Silicon. Benefits of NOVASiC’s 3C-SiC polishing were demonstrated by leading laboratories in terms of performance and yield.
Besides, the possibility to reclaim 3C wafers after defective epitaxy was demonstrated. This open the opportunity to reduce material cost for device development and further industrial device manufacturing.

Building on NOVASiC’s expertise in industrial polishing of H-SiC, we are confident that the processes is suitable for volume ramp up and can be scaled up to larger diameters in order to meet future industrial applications of 3C-SiC.
NOVASiC has started providing polishing service of 3C-SiC commercially to laboratories and devices manufacturers worldwide. It complements NOVASiC’s unique range of services and expertise on Silicon Carbide.

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