Many precision manufacturing processes use ultra-pure water (UPW) for critical cleaning and rinsing steps. For advanced semiconductor processing, UPW processes must maintain very low particle concentration levels, measured at the 20 nm level. UPW is also commonly used for chemical dilution and flushing steps within chemical blending and distribution systems. The use of continuous online particle counters, either at the final water purification step or at the wafer point-of-use, provides UPW facility and fab process engineers the critical particle data needed to effectively manage the water purification and wafer cleaning processes.
Process chemicals are used in many steps to fabricate semiconductor and other critical products, and their purity is critical to maximize product yields and performance. Monitoring particles in process chemicals, from the chemical manufacturing point to the final use-point of the product, is extremely important in today’s clean processes. The use of on-line continuous particle monitoring enables process or facility engineers to respond rapidly to changes in chemical purity levels throughout the chemical distribution process.
Sophisticated technology manufacturing relies on ultra-high purity gases in order to produce leading edge semiconductors, LED/OLED displays, disk drives, and precision optics with high yields. These gases are ultimately supplied directly to process tools to purge and protect the product, or to contribute to process reactions which positively transform the product. However, when poor quality gas is delivered, yields decrease due to a contribution of point defects, reduced thin film adhesion, and electrical property changes due to ionic contaminants. To ensure gas quality meets particle specifications, monitoring is implemented at the gas source and within Continuous Quality Control (CQC) systems. Laser particle counters combined with high pressure diffusers are used to check and troubleshoot gas quality in the downstream distribution piping or as a validation test of gas component cleanliness. An effective strategy combines continuous and periodic monitoring throughout the gas flow path to ensure the highest purity gas is delivered to the final point of use.
Cleanrooms are controlled environments where product manufacturing quality can be impacted by particulate contamination. These cleanrooms use active air filtration systems that reduce airborne particulates to specified limits. Monitoring these airborne particulates provides useful data on the environment’s filtration, sources of contamination, and potential impact to the product or process. Selecting an aerosol particle counter is a choice influenced by the specific application and budget.
By changing the chemical, physical, electrical, or optical properties of highly engineered surfaces, airborne molecular contamination (AMC) can cause yield loss, product degradation, and loss of process control. Our AMC monitors help you detect contamination quickly.