Stories – Trends & Technologies

Trends & Technologies – How Comet is exploring for better

Synertia® – more than an innovative product.

The trend is inexorable: Microchip structures keep becoming smaller and more complex. For chip manufacturing, this means plasma processes must become ever more precise, reliable and quicker to control. This requires more than a single innovative product: What it demands of Comet Plasma Control Technologies is the ability to support customers in innovating, optimizing, and problem-solving through all stages of collaboration.


“It’s not just about the product. Above all, it’s about helping customers innovate and solve their problems.”

André Grede

Vice President of Global R&D, Plasma Control Technologies, Flamatt, Switzerland

Important steps in semiconductor fabrication, such as the deposition, modification and patterning of a wide variety of materials on wafers, are performed with the aid of plasma. Comet radio frequency technology provides the energy needed to control these plasma processes (also see the video How are microchips built). At the product level, Comet thus far developed and built the impedance matching networks (so-called matches) and vacuum capacitors necessary for this. Then, in July 2022, after five years of development work, we launched our first complete radio frequency platform for real-time control of plasma processes – in a word, “Synertia®”.

The Synertia® platform: a networked RF ecosystem

“To succeed in the future, it won’t be enough to offer a good RF generator, a good matching network or good vacuum capacitors,” says André Grede, Vice President of Global R&D at Comet Plasma Control Technologies. “Remaining the technology and market leader for these products is of course still our number one goal. However, superior performance of the entire RF system can only be achieved if these individual products are not just optimally matched but also communicate with each other in real time."

The name “Synertia®” is derived from “synergy”, as the new Synertia platform is a complete ecosystem of RF products that, as a system, provides more benefit than the sum of the products it contains. This modular product portfolio will grow steadily in the coming years. Among other additions, the first Synertia matching networks are to be launched this year.

Access to experts anywhere, anytime

Comet’s Synertia platform enables real-time insight into plasma processes at a whole new level. Critical problems and challenges can thus be solved more quickly, both for manufacturers of semiconductor tools and for end customers in chip production. This not only saves them time and money but also enables them to bring new products to market more quickly. “Research and development in our business is not just about the product. Above all, it’s about helping customers innovate and solve their problems – at an ever-rising level of complexity,” notes André Grede. “That’s why the team behind product development and the support it provides are especially important to our customers.”


“Virtually networked, what we have is one single, global smartLAB. This also takes international collaboration within the global R&D team to the next level.”

Nikolai Schwerg

Director Global Digitalization, Plasma Control Technologies, Flamatt, Switzerland

In recent years, Comet has built a global, multidisciplinary team of specialists in many areas of technology. The various locations all over the world enable us to support our customers around the clock and, if needed, on site. “In this way, we are not only delivering an innovative product, but also efficient support in all stages of collaboration with our customers,” continues André Grede.

Comet SmartLab in Flamatt
Powerful, networked RF smartLABs around the world

To develop innovative high-tech products, it takes both the right team, and the right work environment with high-end infrastructure. The first Comet Plasma Control Technologies smartLAB was opened in Flamatt at the beginning of 2018. Later, a smartLAB was added in Aachen, Germany, and another is currently being set up in San Jose, California, as part of the new building there. “PCT’s fully digital Synertia® product platform internally handles data streams of up to 30 gigabits per second. The volumes of data generated during testing of complete power delivery systems are challenging to store, organize and process. Local smartLABs allow these large volumes of data generated during development to be analyzed right where they are recorded,” says Nikolai Schwerg, Director of Global Digitalization, Plasma Control Technologies. “And virtually networked, what we have is one single, global smartLAB. This also takes international collaboration within the global R&D team to the next level.” In the digitalized lab environment, test runs can be automated, large amounts of data analyzed, and new functionalities qualified more quickly. This allows the further improvement and adaptation of products to customer requirements in the shortest possible time.

For more efficiency and sustainability in semiconductor production

Energy is a scarce resource, and the fabrication of wafers is very energy-intensive. That makes efficiency in this regard a very important consideration when it comes to product innovations in the Plasma Control Technologies division. In plasma control, energy that is not transformed into radio frequency power normally exits as heat. This energy is wasted and the heat then must be countered by cooling. “The Synertia® platform requires less cooling and less space in fab cleanrooms than other RF subsystems. Both of these factors contribute to greater efficiency and sustainability,” says André Grede.

“When it comes to our Synertia® generator, our customers describe it as a truly innovative machine."