Adding Megasonic cleaning to standard wafer cleaning methods can reduce costs and improve overall semiconductor fabrication performance. Megasonic cleaning is especially useful for manufacturing silicon wafers with the smallest geometries, where almost complete particle removal is necessary for successful manufacturing. The process uses high-frequency sound waves to clean wafer surfaces and can be integrated into wet bench processing stations. Megasonic cleaning is becoming more essential for silicon wafer processing as product complexity increases.
Megasonic Cleaning Can Lower Costs
When Megasonic cleaning is incorporated into a silicon wafer processing line, lower costs can result from reduced chemical use and increased yields. The cleaning method uses only plain water in the cleaning bath and can be substituted for some chemical-based cleaning steps. For some cleaning applications, inexpensive solvents or mild detergents can be added to the cleaning solution. For example, Megasonic cleaning is often used after RCA clean to produce optimum cleaning results and reduce additional chemical usage.
When used with conventional cleaning methods, Megasonic cleaning results in cleaner wafers to reduce particle counts. Defects on the final semiconductor products are reduced. Yields increase because the reject rate is lower, and output quality increases.
How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Particle Counts
Megasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves to gently dislodge the smallest contaminating particles when wafers are emersed in a cleaning bath. During the last few years, several semiconductor manufacturers have been producing semiconductor devices that use 7 nm technology. Two leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers have recently done die shrinks to support the production of devices using 5nm and 3 nm processes. With increasingly close packing of semiconductor components, thinner conducting paths, and smaller structures, tiny contaminating particles on the wafer surfaces can block etching and cause component defects. The smaller geometries are especially sensitive to particles down to sub-micron size.
In the Megasonic cleaning process, a high-frequency generator produces an electric signal in the megahertz range. A transducer immersed in the cleaning solution converts the electric signal to sound waves. As the sound waves travel through the cleaning bath, they generate microscopic cavitation bubbles. The bubbles are formed in the sound wave troughs at low pressure and burst at sound wave high-pressure peaks. When a bubble bursts, it releases an energetic cleaning solution jet that strikes the wafer surface and cleans off contaminants. While the jet is powerful enough to remove foreign material from the wafer, it will not damage the underlying silicon.
Chemical cleaning methods effectively remove contaminants, but particles often remain on the wafer surface due to electrostatic and surface tension effects. The chemical action and rinsing are insufficient to remove many of the smallest particles. Megasonic cleaning and the action of the microscopic bubbles and jets dislodge these particles so that they can be rinsed away. The clean wafer is almost completely free of contaminating particles and ready for subsequent processing steps.
How Modutek Integrates Megasonic Cleaning into Semiconductor Manufacturing
While Megasonic cleaning improves cleaning performance throughout the semiconductor manufacturing process, low particle counts are especially critical for pre-diffusion cleans. Modutek has developed a complete line of wet bench stations designed and built using their in-house expertise. As a result, Modutek’s experts can advise customers on how to best integrate Megasonic cleaning in their process line and where it would be the most effective.
Modutek can also evaluate if a final Megasonic pre-diffusion cleaning step would improve process results and recommend additional Megasonic cleaning before critical etching steps. Fabrication with the smallest geometries will benefit the most from using Megasonic cleaning. When customers find that their particle counts at critical process steps are too high, Modutek can help find solutions using Megasonic technology.
Modutek Works with Customers to Provide Solutions
As a leader in wet process semiconductor manufacturing equipment, Modutek works closely with customers to identify problems and provide innovative solutions. When customers need to upgrade their existing wafer cleaning process, Modutek can incorporate leading-edge technologies to improve wafer cleaning performance.