TOKYO, JAPAN - Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL; Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; C.E.O., President: Tetsuro Higashi) has developed a scanning coater using the nozzle-scan method, and is launching a commercial version as a low-k low-conductivity interlayer insulating coating system. Today's semiconductor manufacturing relies mainly on spin-on coating, a coating method that uses a spinning process to coat semiconductor wafers. In spin-on coating, a liquid material is dispensed onto the center of the wafer while the wafer rotates at high speeds, spreading it outward in a uniform distribution. One effect of this process is that the coating material on the outer edge of the wafer tends to spin off, wasting as much as 90% of the volume dispensed. With TEL's newly-commercialized scanning coater, a nozzle scans the entire wafer to dispense the necessary material volume, boosting usage efficiency and achieving cost reduction by reducing the amount of dispensed coating material. Moreover, prevention of the spinning off of coating material reduces the existence of impurities on the wafers and chambers; thereby dramatically decreasing the amount of cleaning solvent and waste liquid. These improvements creates a system that presents a valuable contribution to the preservation of the environment. Furthermore, this new technique offers the potential for other improvements, such as applying the coating to reduce the variance in height between the upper and lower (base) layer of the wafer. The physical principles on which the scanning coating method is based can be used to extend the technique's performance. For this scanning coat process, a specialized chemical agent was engineered to serve as a low-k film. Although this coating method is currently used only for low-k materials, it may become usable in other fields in the future and is a subject for upcoming research. The scanning coater described above will be mounted on the successful CLEAN TRACK ACTR 8 SOD system, and will be made commercially available as a low-k film coating device. During the current fiscal year and fiscal 2002, TEL will construct an appropriate environment for evaluating various interlayer insulating materials, as well as researching the feasibility of integration with other processes. Demonstration evaluations and sales efforts will be started by the end of 2002.