Microbial Contamination Monitors

Airborne Nanoparticle Detection in Semiconductor Tools

Enhancing Airborne Nanoparticle Detection in Semiconductor Tools Using the NanoAir 10 and ParticleSeeker Instruments

Airborne Nanoparticle Detection in cleanrooms and mini-environments for particle sizes down to 100 nm is a common practice and has been widely adopted by most of the semiconductor industry to validate the cleanliness of their state-of-the-art factories. There is a growing need amongst industry leaders to monitor the ambient air as close to their products as possible to ensure no particles reside at the product interface. The increasing attention on driving better product yield performance with advanced technology nodes has drawn reasonable discussion for in-tool monitoring to reduce nanoparticles that can have an impact on yield. With that in mind, Particle Measuring Systems (PMS) launched the new NanoAir™ 10 Condensation Particle Counter that measures particles down to 10 nm and the ParticleSeeker™ Smart Manifold system which is the first-ever manifold designed to handle nanoparticle transport. This product will unlock a new world of monitoring possibilities, providing a look into a current blind spot of the requirements and needs in the industry.

Semiconductor Tool Monitoring Solution

NanoAir condensation particle counter and ParticleSeeker. Airborne Nanoparticle Detection

The NanoAir 10 Condensation Particle Counter (CPC) is a revolutionary new product from Particle Measuring Systems (PMS). It provides the sensitivity of a CPC with the ease of use and functionality of a traditional cleanroom particle counter. Designed to monitor ultra-clean environments, it delivers 10 nm detection sensitivity at a sample flow rate of 2.8 L/min (0.1 CFM).

The ParticleSeeker Smart Manifold is a 10-port manifold that supports applications that require multiple sample locations. The manifold can be used monitor in sequential or programmed sequences.

For an introduction to NanoAir 10 Condensation Particle Counter and ParticleSeeker Manifold, see this introduction video.

Optical Particle Counters (OPC)

Widely adopted, traditional optical particle counters (OPCs) allow particle size detection down to 100 nm with proven successful cases, emphasizing the importance of real-time aerosol particle monitoring inside the semiconductor process tools. The benefit of real-time particle monitoring within the process tools is the quick detection of particles that can reside at the surface of the product and result in yield-impacting defects. There is a great advantage to getting early warning alerts of particle events and minimizing or avoiding any potential impact on product quality. Since traditional OPCs only allow particle detection down to 100 nm and the advancement in technology is allowing the detection of particles at smaller dimensions, there is growing interest in detecting nano-size particles that could cause degradation of a product’s performance.

Condensation Particle Counters (CPC)

A condensation particle counter (CPC) is an instrument used to measure the concentration of very small particles in a gas media. Normally, the particles desired to be measured with this technology are smaller than a normal optical particle counter can measure which is particles < 100 nm (due to limitations with laser technology and sample volumes). CPCs operate based on the concept of growing very small particles to a size at which they can be counted by a traditional Optical Particle Counter (OPC). This is done by creating a supersaturated vapor and triggering condensation of the vapor onto the surface of the particles to grow them to a larger size.

For more information about how CPCs work, watch this video.

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