Chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) processes have made steady advances over the decades, with growing understanding of electro chemistries of copper enhancing the performance parameters. Most prominently to benefit from these process advances in CMP copper slurries is the semiconductor industry. CMP slurries are extensively demanded and utilized in various semiconductor manufacturing processes. The demand for metal polishing solutions in the industries has considerably expanded the avenue in the CMP copper slurry market. Chemical behemoths have been keenly expending on research and development programs to meet a wide cross-section of needs for CMP slurries in the end-use industry. Such research initiatives have focused squarely on improving planarization performance of copper wafers.
New formulations in copper slurries expand the prospect of profitability of vendors in the CMP copper slurry market. These formulations aim at offering tunable selectivity as well as high removal rates to businesses in end-use industries. The pressing drive toward reducing costs in manufacturing next-gen manufacturing has boosted the pace of product innovation in the CMP copper slurry market. Further, manufacturers are leaning on increasing the reliability of CMP slurries in defect removal requirement for the production of cutting-edge semiconductor nodes, especially those pertaining to semiconductor packaging. Technological advances in this direction have propelled the evolution of the CMP copper slurry market.
CMP (chemical mechanical planarization) copper slurry is a type of chemical slurry used in the CMP process. The process involves the utilization of a chemical slurry formulation for mechanically removing unwanted dielectric or conductive materials on silicon wafers so that a smooth and near-perfect flat surface is achieved upon which layers of integrated circuitry can be built. The CMP copper slurry is the type of CMP slurry which is specifically designed to planarize copper surfaces. Different types of slurries are developed for planarization of different metal surfaces so as to take into account the properties of those metals. This is important in order to ensure that the silicon wafer surface is not damaged or scratched due to the chemical interaction between the slurry and the wafer surface. For example, taking into account copper’s chemically active nature, metal ions are generally not utilized for planarization, and instead, organic amine and colloidal silica are majorly utilized. Other surfaces for which CMP slurries are developed include aluminum, tungsten, carbon nanotubes, and silicon dioxide.
The global CMP copper slurries market can be segmented based on technology, application, and region.
In terms of technology, the CMP copper slurry market can be classified into shallow trench isolation (STI), through-silicon-via (STV), inter-dielectric (ILD), and front-end-of-line (FEOL) technology among the majorly-used ones. Other technologies include polysilicon, large-scale integration (LSI), line-hole process, poly-Si stop and inter-metal dielectric technology.
In terms of application, the CMP process is required in the semiconductor industry for the fabrication of integrated circuits. These circuits are then employed in a variety of electronic and electrical products, primarily in the ICT (information and communications technology) industry. However, the rapid development of technology in other industries such as medical, photography, and environmental has fueled the market for CMP copper slurries.
In terms of region, the CMP copper slurry market can be classified into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East & Africa.
The manufacturing of CMP slurries and by extension, of CMP copper slurries is a complex process. It requires advanced technology and in-depth knowledge of the subject. Research & development (R&D) is an important aspect of the market, with companies consistently investing in the development of new slurries and their combination. It is also important for companies to have R&D facilities, as the CMP copper slurries need to be customized according to the requirement of various clients.
Given the investment and technology needed for manufacturing CMP copper slurries, this activity is restricted to developed regions and countries. These include North America and Europe, apart from countries such as China and Japan in Asia Pacific.
It is important to note that the global market for CMP copper slurries is expected to expand at a higher growth rate as compared to other slurries, as copper has started displacing other materials as the preferred choice for complex electric circuitry. This is due to its several useful properties such as higher level of thermal resistivity and high electrical conductivity.
The global CMP copper slurry market is a highly consolidated market due to the high level of technology required. The total number of companies in the market is restricted to less than 30 and some of the major players include Cabot Microelectronics Corporation, Versum Material Inc., Fujimi Incorporated, BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, and Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd.
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