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Components | September 19, 2011

Honeywell expands copper and tin refining capacity

Honeywell (Electronic Materials will more than double its refining and casting capacity for high-purity copper and tin at its Spokane (Washington / USA) facility in response to rising demand in the semiconductor industry.
Demand for the copper material has been steadily growing as new advanced chip designs continue to require high-purity copper. Additional industry growth has come as memory manufacturers transition from aluminum to copper. The use of copper and tin for advanced chip packaging applications is similarly on the rise.

The first phase of the capacity expansion will be complete in the first quarter of next year, while the second phase is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
"We are committed to meeting the growing needs of the industry for advanced, high-purity metals," said Mike Norton, product line director for Honeywell Electronic Materials' Advanced Metals business. "We are doing that by making the supply chain and technology investments necessary to meet industry requirements and support our customers, whether they are working on leading-edge technology nodes or within the more mature spaces within the semiconductor industry."

One of the most significant benefits of using copper in integrated circuits is its ability to provide a lower resistivity than aluminum, which has been widely used for interconnects in the industry. Lower resistivity translates to faster chip speeds, which in turn delivers increased device performance. Copper has also been embraced for chip packaging applications due to the rapidly increasing costs associated with gold, which is the current industry standard.

Tin has been used increasingly as an alternative to lead for advanced chip packaging applications, providing an option for customers who must comply with regulations against lead-based materials.

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