Showa Denko (SDK) has started strengthening its system for supplying high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF), a specialty gas for semiconductor production.

In March 2015, SDK doubled the capacity of its existing HF production facility in Kawasaki, Japan. SDK has also decided to build a new HF production facility in China.

High-purity HF is used mainly as a cleaning gas in the process of producing semiconductors. In recent years, the number of cases where HF is used as an etching gas in the process of dry etching, which is called Chemical Oxide Removal (COR), is increasing.

If a semiconductor manufacturer tries to introduce HF as an etching gas, there are many technical problems to be solved to maintain high-purity of the gas, which is necessary for etching. However, SDK’s high-purity HF for COR has been successfully penetrating the market due to the company’s proprietary purification technology and achievement of long-term stability of HF’s quality in the gas cylinders for preservation.

COR is attracting semiconductor manufacturers’ attention as a fine-etching technology to replace plasma etching and wet etching, and consequently the demand for high-purity HF to be used in the COR process is becoming lively. To meet this active demand, SDK completed in this March the expansion of its HF production facility in Kawasaki Plant.

In addition, SDK has decided to build a new facility to produce high-purity HF in the premises of its wholly-owned subsidiary Shanghai Showa Electronics Materials Co., Ltd. (SSE), of China, in order to establish speedy and flexible high-purity HF supply system with multiple production bases and provide our customers in China with better service. The new facility is planned to have the same capacity as that of Kawasaki Plant.

We will start the construction work in the course of this April, and aim to start operation of the new HF plant in China by the end of 2015.

Etching with high-purity HF can attain better productivity than that of wet etching with chemical fluids, and can achieve lower production cost than that of plasma etching. Thus, the demand for high-purity HF for etching is expected to continue growing in the future.

SDK will aim to respond to the increasing demand for high-purity HF with its stable supply system, while further improving the product quality with its proprietary technology.