PICS Project - Press Information


- press release - October 22, 2015

Successful industrialization of high-density 3D integrated silicon capacitors for ultra-miniaturized electronic components

Three high-tech SMEs finalize the joint EU-funded PICS project on innovative ALD materials and manufacturing equipment

Caen, Oct. 22, 2015 – Two years after the launch of the PICS project (funded by the FP7 funding instrument dedicated to research for the benefit of SMEs), three European SMEs, IPDiA, Picosun and SENTECH Instruments along with CEA-Leti and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT announce the major technological results achieved during this program. Started in September 2013, the PICS project was focused on developing innovative dielectric materials deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) and related tools (ALD batch tool and etching tool) to bring to mass production a new technology of high- density and high-voltage 3D trench capacitors targeting high-end markets like medical or aeronautics. Capacitors are key components presented in every electronic module. The integrated silicon capacitors technology offered by the SME IPDiA outperforms current technologies (using ceramic or tantalum substrates) in stability in temperature, voltage, aging and reliability and enables to build highly integrated and high-performance electronic modules.

The consortium’s three major technological results are:
• A novel ALD batch tool was developed by Picosun and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT. It enables to reduce cost-of-ownership and deliver better uniformity and step coverage for high-K dielectrics into 3D structures. With its demonstrated, optimized and production-proven ALD processes, Picosun is solidifying its position as a technological leader in the IC, Semiconductor, MEMS markets, from R&D to production systems.
• A new process for accurately etching high-K dielectrics, which are very specific materials, was demonstrated by SENTECH with the help of Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT. As a result, SENTECH has the potential to gain market share in the field of high-k materials, which have high interest for different applications, e.g. LED, MEMS, magnetic data storage.
• Two new dielectric stacks were developed and integrated into the IPDiA 3D trench capacitors by IPDiA, CEA-Leti and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT. The initial specifications were fulfilled and proven by electrical measurements. A new record on capacitance density (>500nF/mm² at 3.3V) and an extended operation voltage (10V with 150nF/mm²) were obtained, which expands IPDiA’s ability to meet current market requirements particularly in the field of medical or aeronautics. Qualification procedure was initiated during the project by launching preliminary reliability studies and it will continue in the coming months.
On top of these R&D results, the other main objective of PICS was the industrialization of this new integrated capacitors technology. Thanks to the partnerships set up, the manufacturability and financial viabilities were ensured by developing adequate industrial tools targeting mass production.
The PICS project is a success for all three SMEs and a good example of the benefits brought by the EU funding instrument “Research for the benefit of SMEs”. The SMEs were able to outsource a part of their research to get from RTD performers innovative know-how and cutting-edge technological processes. The project was built to answer the SMEs’ specific needs and a common goal was set up around the new IPDiA capacitors technology and the specific tools (ALD batch tool and etching) required for its commercial exploitation.

- press release - October 25, 2013

Picosun brings ALD into pacemakers and electric cars

Dresden, Germany and ESPOO, Finland - Oct. 25, 2013 – Picosun Oy, the leading Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) equipment manufacturer, provides novel batch ALD processes for fast, cost-efficient mass production of next generation 3D capacitors.

High power density 3D capacitor technology, which is suitable for storing and handling large quantities of energy, is utilized for example in pacemakers and other implantable medical devices, electric cars, and more and more efficient memories for computers and mobile devices. To realize these
applications, power consumption, long-term stability, and general reliability of the capacitors and other related electronic components need improvement and their footprint substantial reduction. Advanced, innovative ALD structures are in a central role when addressing these challenges and Picosun, as the leading supplier of mature batch ALD technology, is a natural choice for providing both ALD tools and processes for the capacitor manufacturing. With its demonstrated, optimized and production-proven ALD processes, Picosun is solidifying its position as the technological leader in the future 3D capacitor market.

“Picosun is the only company offering mature ALD batch equipment that can run stand alone or be clustered using a vacuum robot enabling a production ramp in a cost-efficient way. We aim at transferring our proven high-k capacitor material and process knowledge to an ALD batch system from Picosun and thereby improving cost-of-ownership for applications employing thicker high-k for high voltage applications. Such an offering is not available at the market today,” comments Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, group leader of high-k devices at Fraunhofer CNT, Germany. Fraunhofer CNT, a top European research center for micro- and nanoelectronics is one of Picosun’s collaboration partners in the EU 7th Framework Program project PICS (“Development of innovative ALD materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors”,, a part of which the work for the next generation 3D capacitor production upscaling is.

Picosun’s world leading ALD technology enables industrial leap into the future by novel, cuttingedge coating solutions, with four decades of pioneering, groundbreaking expertise in the field. Today, PICOSUN™ ALD systems are in daily production use in numerous prominent industries around the globe.
Picosun is based in Finland, it has its subsidiaries in USA and Singapore, and world-wide sales and support network.

The PICS project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Program managed by REA-Research Executive Agency (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° FP7-SME-2013-2-606149.



- press release - October 23, 2013

Two Major EU Research Institutes and Three High-tech SMEs Launch Project to Industrialize New World Record High-density Capacitors

PICS project will develop innovative Atomic Layer Deposition materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors

Prototype of medical pills integrating temperature sensor and RF transceiver

GRENOBLE and CAEN, France – Oct. 23, 2013 –CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer CNT and three European SMEs, IPDiA, Picosun and SENTECH Instruments, have launched a project to industrialize 3D integrated capacitors with world-record density.

Thetwo-year EU-funded PICS project is designed to develop a disruptive technology that results in a new worldrecord for integrated capacitor densities (over 500nF/mm2) combined with higher breakdown voltages. It will strengthen the SME partners’ position in several markets, such as automotive, medical and lighting, by offering an even higher integration level and more miniaturization.

3D trench capacitors integrated into Silicon

The fast development of applications based on smart and miniaturized sensors in aerospace, medical, lighting and automotive domains has increasingly linked requirements of electronic modules to higher integration levels and miniaturization (to increase the functionality combination and complexity within a single package). At the same time, reliability and robustness are required to ensure long operation and placement of the sensors as close as possible to the “hottest” areas for efficient monitoring. For these applications, passive components are no longer commodities. Capacitors are indeed key components in electronic modules, and high-capacitance density is required to optimize – among other performance requirements – power-supply and high decoupling capabilities. Dramatically improved capacitance density also is required because of package shrink.

IPDiA has for many years developed an integrated capacitors technology thatout performs current technologies (e.g. tantalum capacitors) in terms of stability in temperature, voltage, aging and reliability. Now, a technological solution is needed to achieve higher capacitance densities, reduce power consumption and improve reliability. The key enabling technology chosen to bridge this technological gap is atomic layer deposition (ALD) that allows an impressive quality of dielectric.

The PICS project consortium will address all related technological challenges and setup a cost-effective industrial solution. Picosun will develop ALD tools adapted to IPDiA’s 3D trench capacitors. SENTECH Instruments will provide a new solution to more accurately etch high-K dielectric materials. CEA-Leti and Fraunhofer CNT will help the SMEs to create innovative technological solutions in order to improve their competitiveness and gain market share. Finally, IPDiA will manage the industrialization of these processes.

Picture 1: Prototype of medical pills integrating temperature sensor and RF transceiver
Picture 2: 3D trench capacitors integrated into Silicon



Press Releases Date
01 - PICS project will develop innovative Atomic Layer Deposition materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors October 23, 2013
02 - Picosun brings ALD into pacemakers and electric cars October 25, 2013
03 - SENTECH takes part in the new EU project PICS January 10, 2014
04 - Successful industrialization of high-density 3D integrated silicon capacitors for ultra-miniaturized electronic components October 22, 2015



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