Entegris is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and supplier of products and materials used in processing and manufacturing in the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. For the semiconductor industry, our products maintain the purity and integrity of critical materials used by the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. For other high-technology applications, our products and materials are used to manufacture flat panel displays, high-purity chemicals, photoresists, solar cells, gas lasers, optical and magnetic storage devices, fiber optic cables, fuel cells and critical components for aerospace, glass manufacturing and biomedical applications. We sell our products worldwide through a direct sales force and through distributors in selected regions.
The Company was incorporated in Delaware in March 2005 in connection with a strategic merger of equals transaction between Entegris, Inc., a Minnesota corporation (Entegris Minnesota), and Mykrolis Corporation, a Delaware corporation (Mykrolis). Effective August 6, 2005, Entegris Minnesota and Mykrolis were each merged into the Company with the Company as the surviving corporation to carry on the combined businesses. Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “Entegris”, “we”, “our”, or the “Company” mean Entegris, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its subsidiaries; the term “Mykrolis” means Mykrolis Corporation and its subsidiaries when referring to periods prior to August 6, 2005; “Entegris Minnesota” means Entegris, Inc., a Minnesota corporation and its subsidiaries other than Entegris when referring to periods prior to August 6, 2005; and the term “Merger” refers to the transactions effected on August 6, 2005 described above. On August 11, 2008 we acquired Poco Graphite (POCO), a privately held company based in Decatur, Texas. The addition of POCO both augmented our base of business in the semiconductor industry and expanded our materials science capabilities to include graphite and silicon carbide and added a consumable product line made from those materials to our portfolio of products.
We offer a diverse product portfolio that includes more than 15,000 standard and customized products that we believe provide the most comprehensive offering of products and services to maintain the purity and integrity of critical materials used by the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. Our products include both unit driven and capital expense driven products. Unit-driven and consumable products are consumed or exhausted during the manufacturing process and rely on the level of semiconductor and other manufacturing activity to drive growth. Capital expense driven products rely on the expansion of manufacturing capacity to drive growth. Our unit-driven and consumable product class includes membrane-based liquid filters and housings, metal-based gas filters, resin-based gas purifiers, wafer shippers, disk-shipping containers and test assembly and packaging products and consumable graphite and silicon carbide components used in plasma etch, ion implant and chemical vapor deposition processes in semiconductor manufacturing. Our capital expense driven products include our components, systems and subsystems that use electro-mechanical, pressure differential and related technologies, to permit semiconductor and other electronics manufacturers to monitor and control the flow and condition of process liquids used in these manufacturing processes, and our process carriers that protect the integrity of in-process wafers. Unit-driven and consumable products, including service revenue, accounted for approximately 70%, 65% and 60% of our net sales for fiscal years 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively, and capital expense-driven products accounted for approximately 30%, 35% and 40% of our net sales for the fiscal years 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY BACKGROUND
Semiconductors, or integrated circuits, are the building blocks of today’s electronics and the backbone of the information age. The market for semiconductors has grown significantly over the past decade. This trend is expected to continue due to increased Internet usage and the continuing demand for applications in data processing, wireless communications, broadband infrastructure, personal computers, handheld electronic devices and other consumer electronics.
The semiconductor materials industry is comprised of a wide variety of materials and consumables that are used throughout the semiconductor production process. The extensive and complex process of turning bare silicon wafers into finished integrated circuits is dependent upon a variety of materials used repeatedly throughout the manufacturing process, such as silicon, chemicals, gases and metals. The handling and purification of these materials during the integrated circuit manufacturing process requires the use of a variety of products, such as liquid and gas filters and purifiers, fluid and gas handling components and wafer shippers and process carriers.
The manufacture of semiconductors is a highly complex process that consists of two principal segments: front-end processes and back-end processes. The front-end process begins with the delivery of raw silicon wafers from wafer manufacturers to semiconductor manufacturers and requires hundreds of highly complex and sensitive manufacturing steps, during which a variety of materials, including chemicals and gases, are applied to the silicon wafer to build the integrated circuits on the wafer surface. We offer products for each of the primary front-end process steps, which are listed below, as well as products to transport in-process wafers between each of these steps.
Deposition. Deposition refers to placing layers of insulating or conductive materials on a wafer surface in thin films that make up the circuit elements of semiconductor devices. The two main deposition processes are physical vapor deposition, where a thin film is deposited on a wafer surface in a low-pressure gas environment, and chemical vapor deposition (CVD), where a thin film is deposited on a wafer surface using a gas medium and a chemical bonding process. In addition, electro-plating technology is utilized for the deposition of low resistance conductive materials such as copper. The control of uniformity and thickness of these films through filtration and purification of the fluids and materials used during the process is critical to the performance of the semiconductor circuit and, consequently, the manufacturing yield. In addition, our graphite chamber liners and shower heads are critical expendable components used in the CVD chamber.
Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP). CMP flattens, or planarizes, the topography of the surface of the wafer after deposition to permit the patterning of small features on the resulting smooth surface by the photolithography process. Semiconductor manufacturers need our filtration and purification systems to maintain acceptable manufacturing yields through the chemical mechanical planarization process by filtering the liquid slurries, which are solutions containing abrasive particles in a chemical mixture, to remove oversized particles and contaminants that can cause defects on a wafer’s surface, while not affecting the functioning of the abrasive particles in the liquid slurries. In addition, manufacturers use our consumable polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) roller brushes to clean the wafer after completion of the CMP process to prepare the wafer for subsequent operations.
Photolithography. Photolithography is the process step that defines the patterns of the circuits to be built on the chip. Before photolithography, a wafer is pre-coated with photoresist, a light-sensitive film composed of ultra-high purity chemicals in liquid form. The photoresist is exposed to specific forms of radiation, such as ultraviolet light, electrons or x-rays, to form patterns that eventually become the circuitry on the chip. This process is repeated many times, using different patterns and interconnects between layers to form the complex, multi-layer circuitry on a semiconductor chip. As device geometries decrease and wafer sizes increase, it is even more critical that these photoresists are dispensed on to the chip with accurate thickness and uniformity, as well as with low levels of contamination, and that the process gases are free of micro-contamination so that manufacturers can achieve acceptable yields in the manufacturing process. Our liquid filtration and liquid dispense systems play a critical role in assuring the pure, accurate and uniform dispense of photoresists on to the wafer. In addition, our gas micro-contamination systems eliminate airborne amine contaminants that can disrupt effective photolithography processes.
Etch and Resist Strip. Etch is the process of selectively removing precise areas of thin films that have been deposited on the surface of a wafer. The hardened photoresist protects the remaining material that makes up the circuits. During etch, specific areas of the film not covered by photoresist are removed to leave a desired circuit pattern. Similarly, resist strip is a process of removing the photoresist material from the wafer after the desired pattern has been placed on the wafer. Emerging advanced etch and resist strip applications require precisely controlled gas chemistries and flow rates in order to achieve precise etch and resist strip characteristics. Our gas filters and purifiers help assure the purity of these process gas streams, and our consumable graphite components deliver, baffle and confine these process gases during the etch process.
Ion Implant. Ion implantation provides a means for introducing impurities into the silicon crystal, typically into selected areas defined by the photolithographic process. This selective implanting of ions into defined areas creates electrically conductive areas that form the transistors of the integrated circuits. Ion implanters have the ability to implant selected elements into the silicon wafers at precise locations and depths by bombarding the silicon surface with a precisely controlled beam of electrically charged ions of specific atomic mass and energy. These ions are embedded into the silicon crystal structure, changing the electrical properties of the silicon. The precision of ion implantation techniques permits customers to achieve the necessary control of this doping process to construct up to 500 billion transistors of uniform characteristics on a 300mm wafer. Since these transistors are the starting point of all subsequent process steps, repeatability, uniformity and yield are extremely important. Our consumable graphite components as well as our proprietary low temperature plasma coating process for core components are critical elements of ion implantation equipment.
Wet Cleaning. Ultra-high purity chemicals and photoresists of precise composition are used to clean the wafers, to pattern circuit images and to remove photoresists after etch. Before processes such as photoresist coating, thin film deposition, ion implantation, diffusion and oxidation, and after processes such as ion implantation and etch, the photoresists must be stripped off, and the wafer cleaned in multiple steps of chemical processes. To maintain manufacturing yields and avoid defective products, these chemicals must be maintained at very high purity levels without the presence of foreign material such as particles, ions or organic contaminants. Our liquid filters and purifiers are used to assure the purity of these chemicals.
Our wafer and reticle carriers are high-purity “mini-environments” which carry wafers between each of the above process steps, protecting them from damage and contamination during these transport operations. Our fluid handling components assure the delivery of pure liquid chemicals to each of these process steps. Front-end wafer processing can involve hundreds of steps and take several weeks. As a result, a batch of 25 fully processed wafers, the maximum number of wafers that can be transported in one of our products, can be worth several million dollars. Since significant value is added to the wafer during each successive manufacturing step, it is essential that the wafer be handled carefully and precisely to minimize damage. Thus, in the case of wafer carriers, precise wafer positioning, highly reliable and predictable cassette interface dimensions and advanced materials are crucial. The failure to prevent damage to wafers can severely impact integrated circuit performance, render an integrated circuit inoperable or disrupt manufacturing operations. Our products enable semiconductor manufacturers to: minimize contamination (semiconductor processing is now so sensitive that ionic contamination in certain processing chemicals is measured in parts per trillion); protect semiconductor devices from electrostatic discharge and shock; avoid process interruptions; prevent damage or abrasion to wafers and materials during automated processing caused by contact with other materials or equipment; prevent damage due to abrasion or vibration of work-in-process and finished goods during transportation to and from customer and supplier facilities; and eliminate the dangers associated with handling toxic chemicals.
Once the front-end manufacturing process is completed, finished wafers are transferred to back-end manufacturers or assemblers. The back-end semiconductor manufacturing process consists of test, assembly and packaging of finished wafers into integrated circuits. Our wafer shippers, wafer and reticle carriers and integrated circuit trays facilitate the storage, transport, processing and protection of wafers through these front-end and back-end manufacturing steps.
Semiconductor manufacturing has become increasingly complex in recent years as new technologies have been introduced to enhance device performance and as larger wafer sizes have been introduced to increase production efficiencies. This increasing complexity of semiconductor devices has resulted in a number of challenges including the need for more complex, higher-precision liquid and gas delivery, measurement, control and purification systems and subsystems in the front-end manufacturing processes and to improve time-to-market, reduce manufacturing costs, improve production quality and enhance product reliability and long-term service and support. To address these challenges, semiconductor equipment companies and device manufacturers are outsourcing the design and manufacture of liquid delivery, measurement, control and purification systems, subsystems, components, and consumables to us and to other well-established subsystem and component companies that have worldwide presence and leading technologies. The design and performance of those liquid delivery systems, subsystems, components and consumables are critical to the front-end semiconductor manufacturing process because they directly affect cost of ownership and manufacturing yields. We continually seek opportunities to work with our customers to address these challenges.
Also in response to these challenges and to achieve continued productivity gains, semiconductor manufacturers have become increasingly focused on materials management solutions that enable them to safely store, handle, process and transport critical materials throughout the manufacturing process to minimize the potential for damage or degradation to their materials and to protect their investment in processed wafers. The need for efficient and reliable materials management is particularly important as new materials are introduced and as 300 mm semiconductor wafer manufacturing becomes the more prevalent manufacturing technology. Processing 300 mm wafers, currently the largest wafer size in a manufacturing environment, is more costly and more complex because of the larger size of these wafers. In addition, new materials and circuit shrinkage create new contamination and material compatibility risks, rendering 300 mm wafers more vulnerable to damage or contamination. These trends will present new and increasingly difficult purification, dispense, shipping, transport, process and storage challenges. We seek to bring our advanced polymer manufacturing and advanced tool design capabilities to bear on these challenges to provide our customers with innovative materials integrity management solutions.
Many of the processes used to manufacture semiconductors are also used to manufacture photovoltaic cells, flat panel displays, magnetic and optical storage devices and fiberoptic cables for telecommunications, resulting in the need for similar filtration, purification, control and measurement capabilities. We seek to leverage our products and expertise in serving semiconductor applications to address these important market opportunities.
OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY
Our objective is to be a leading global provider of innovative products and solutions for purifying, protecting and transporting critical materials used in processing and manufacturing in the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. We intend to build upon our position as a worldwide developer, manufacturer and supplier of liquid delivery systems, components and consumables used by semiconductor and other electronic device manufacturers and upon our expertise in advanced specialty materials to grow our business in these and other high value-added manufacturing process markets. Our strategy includes the following key elements:
Comprehensive and Diverse Product Offerings. The semiconductor manufacturing industry is driven by rapid technological changes and intense competition. We believe that semiconductor manufacturers are seeking process control suppliers who can provide a broad range of reliable, flexible and cost-effective products, as well as the technological and application design expertise necessary to deliver effective solutions. Our comprehensive product offering enables us to meet a broad range of customer needs and provide a single source of flexible product offerings for semiconductor device and capital equipment manufacturers as they seek to consolidate their supplier relationships to a smaller select group. In addition, we believe manufacturers of semiconductor tools are looking to their suppliers for subsystems that provide more integrated functionality and seamlessly communicate with other equipment. We believe our offering of consumables and equipment, as well as our ability to integrate them, allows us to provide advanced subsystems.