January 22, 2014


Ion Implanters Can Have Portable Pick and Drop Simulation

Before you start reading this blog, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of ion implantation; in simple words, it is the process where “The surface of semiconductor material is altered.” If you are eager for details, refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_implantation.

Speaking of ion implanters, they are bunch of hi-tech intelligent hardware glued together with robust control system software as their heartbeat. The software solves the purpose of implantation by making the hardware work in harmony with each other and also controls them to respect their boundaries.

This is where accuracy and robustness play vital roles in manufacturing and developing an ion implanter, both software and hardware. This is also where manufacturers spend a lot of money in testing, and this is where ion implant simulation plays a vital role.

Ion implanter manufacturers around the globe have their own punch line, or to say, a goal for their variants, be it ion purity or productivity or accuracy; a lot of science and innovation are required in the manufacturing an ion implanter. So, it is no surprise they have dedicated simulator software for each of the variants.

The main content starts now

This blog is not just about the simulation of ion implanter hardware so it can be tested against its control system and software, but to make that simulation globally reusable and portable for any variant of any manufacturer at least to a possible and profitable extent.

When you take any ion implanter, it will have a list of sensors, pumps, chambers, robots, valves, power supplies, electromagnets, slits, doors, clamps, tracks, rotating discs and various other mechanics and electronics.

I see there is a wide line of commonality among these components, as each of them is a standalone and solves a designated purpose (a valve’s purpose is to open or close). In fact, this is the lifeline of an ion implanter simulator software, in which all these components are programmatically represented and logics to execute them in union is done, which at the end, creates a simulated representation of the actual hardware.

The difference is that different variants of ion implanters use different sets of components, and the logic applied to them is also different, which makes it necessary to create different simulation software. But I say no -- it can be made common to a potential extent as long as the basics of the components remain same, which they will in fact.

I propose an ion implant simulation software which has the basic simulation of all ion implanter related components, and provides a pick drop console which integrates the dropped components and makes a real-time creation of simulation possible. As I mentioned before, each ion implanter has its own punch line, so my simulator will also have options for the user to customize the logics which integrate the basic components, and there will be options to create and collaborate multiple simulation sequences. There shall also be an option to create new components associated with some guidelines.

Every manufacturer has its own proprietary ion implantation logic, which is why there should be an option to embed or write simulations and logics. This might feel like an overhead in the beginning, but in a short time and with development, a manufacturer will have a simulator which can be used to test all ion implanter variants.

Another challenge is the difference in communication protocols used by control systems, which I am sure will be different, even within a single ion implanter, as the different components use different communication models. That is why my simulator will also provide all possible communication models as a choice of options when the user picks and drops.

So, to summarize, if we develop software which has all basic implantation components, communication models and sequences, and provides an intelligent and  user-friendly Integration system, I believe we will have created a robust portable pick and drop simulation for ion implanters.

Semi software service companies should be interested in thinking about this as an opportunity. They have immense knowledge about what the manufacturers use in their ion implanter variants, and can collectively conduct a study and consolidate the results in a non-disclosed manner to create this  pick and drop simulation software product.To know more about innovative manufacturing solutions, visit HCL's Manufacturing unit.