Market opportunities for semiconductor cleaning

2022-06-01 00:07

1、Semiconductor cleaning agent product principle

Cleaning is an important process link throughout the semiconductor industry chain, used to remove impurities that may exist in each step of semiconductor wafer manufacturing, wafer manufacturing and packaging testing to avoid impurities affecting chip yields and chip product performance.

According to the different cleaning media, the current semiconductor cleaning technology is mainly divided into wet cleaning and dry cleaning two process routes.

Wet cleaning – for different process requirements, the use of specific chemical solutions and deionized water, non-damaging cleaning of the wafer surface to remove particles, natural oxide layer, organic matter, metal contamination, sacrificial layer, polishing residues and other substances in the wafer manufacturing process, can be used at the same time ultrasonic, heating, vacuum and other auxiliary technical means. Wet cleaning process chemical solution is basically the same, the main difference between the different processes is the auxiliary method, but also the main difficulty of the wet cleaning process.

Dry cleaning – refers to the cleaning technology without the use of chemical solvents, mainly including plasma cleaning, supercritical vapor phase cleaning, beam cleaning and other technologies. Although there is a high selection of different films than the advantages, but can clean a relatively single contaminant, but still in 28nm and more advanced technology nodes of logic products and storage products have an important role.

2, the semiconductor cleaning technology barriers and solutions

Although 90% of the cleaning steps used in the wet cleaning technology, but in semiconductor manufacturing, dry and wet methods in the short term can not replace each other, and in their respective fields to more advanced direction. The technical barriers to wet cleaning, mainly in the easy to cause cross-contamination between wafers.

Advanced processes are more sensitive to impurities, the efficient cleaning of small size contaminants more difficult. The solution is mainly to increase the number of cleaning steps. According to ACM’s assessment, assuming a DRAM production line with a monthly capacity of 100,000 wafers, a 1% drop in yield will result in a loss of $30-50 million a year for the company. Therefore, companies are bound to use more cleaning steps in order to improve the yield rate.

With the continuous progress of semiconductor technology, semiconductor device integration continues to improve, the cleaning steps have increased significantly. 90nm chip cleaning process about 90 channels, to 20nm cleaning process reached 215 channels. As the chip enters 16nm and below 7nm, the number of channels of the cleaning process will accelerate growth.


Hynix memory, for example, the 28nm process requires a total of 500-600 processes, cleaning process has nearly 200 channels (of which the core of the cleaning process has 40-50 channels). As the advanced process becomes more advanced, after 20nm, the number of cleaning steps required will become more and more time consuming, and the performance of the equipment itself will become more and more demanding. According to the estimates of Lidl industry research network, 16nm technology node process steps of about 1000 steps, 7nm technology will be more than 1500 steps.

3, the global semiconductor cleaning equipment market size and competitive situation

In terms of structure, monolithic cleaning equipment is the absolute mainstream of the current market, accounting for 74.63%. With the further reduction of integrated circuit feature size, the application of monolithic cleaning equipment in the process below 40nm will be more widespread, and the proportion of the future is expected to gradually rise.

According to SEMI data, in 2015 the global semiconductor cleaning equipment market size of 2.6 billion U.S. dollars, when it is expected to reach 3.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 7%. The space for wet cleaning equipment in mainland China is expected to be $1.5-2 billion per year, and the localization rate of cleaning machines can reach 40%-50% by 2023, which means the market space for domestic equipment is 4-7 billion yuan; and it is expected that the future 12-inch wafer slot and monolithic cleaning equipment will be the main increment of the market.


According to Taiwan Industrial Research Institute data, the global semiconductor cleaning equipment market size of $4.9 billion in 2020, accounting for about 10% of the overall market size of semiconductor equipment, and will maintain steady growth, will reach $6.7 billion in 2025, with an average annual growth rate of 6.8%.


The global semiconductor cleaning equipment market is highly concentrated and monopolized by manufacturers such as DNS, TEL, etc. In 2019, DNS, TEL, LAM and SEMES four companies have a combined market share of 97.7%, of which DNS has the highest market share (45.1%).


4, semiconductor cleaning equipment, the trend of domestic replacement

With the transfer of semiconductor production capacity and the overall market demand for domestic semiconductors, mainland China’s semiconductor industry investment growth, sales scale continues to grow. Based on the shortcomings of China’s high foreign dependence of semiconductor equipment, the United States to take measures such as embargoes on China, the urgent need for domestic substitution.

Against the background of economic and trade friction between China and the U.S., promoting the independent control of the semiconductor supply chain is a historic opportunity for domestic semiconductor equipment manufacturers. Terminal demand growth + IC manufacturing link localization trend, semiconductor equipment demand to enhance. In recent years, with the development of 5G, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, automotive electronics and other emerging industries, MEMS, compounds, MiniLED chips, advanced packaging and other semiconductor demand has grown rapidly, also led to the growth of demand for specialized semiconductor equipment. Integrated circuit semiconductor localization demand urgent, SMIC active expansion also increased the demand for equipment, China’s semiconductor equipment overall localization rate of only 13%, the domestic manufacturers to replace the huge space.

In recent years, China’s semiconductor cleaning equipment industry has developed rapidly, and the localization rate has been increasing. 2019, China’s semiconductor cleaning equipment tender procurement share, domestic manufacturers Sheng Mei Semiconductor, North Huachuang, core source micro combined accounted for 22%. This value far exceeds the localization rate of most other semiconductor equipment. As an important player in China’s semiconductor cleaning field, these domestic semiconductor cleaning manufacturers started later than overseas, but the momentum to catch up is strong.