Modutek Named Among Top Suppliers in Global Semiconductor Wafer Cleaning System Market

Modutek is a supplier of wet bench technology, wet processing and chemical handling stations to the semiconductor fabrication industry. The company was recently named as one of the top suppliers in the global semiconductor wafer cleaning system market research report published on eMarkets Europe. Modutek emphasizes in house development of its software and equipment and focuses on a high level of customer support, leveraging the expertise of its own engineers to offer both standard and customized systems. At the forefront of innovative development, the company offers complete solutions to improve semiconductor fabrication facility performance and output quality.

The Characteristics of a Top Supplier

To become a top supplier in any industry a company has to supply high quality equipment that meets the needs of customers over an extended period of time. In the case of semiconductor equipment manufacturers, it means offering silicon wafer processing stations that execute the customer’s processes precisely with high output quality at a reasonable total cost of ownership. Top suppliers will know the details of the different etching, stripping and cleaning processes and will have developed equipment and software that handles them safely and effectively.

Modutek has been supplying the semiconductor equipment industry for over 35 years, building a reputation for high levels of competence and innovation. The company’s wet bench stations support all the common chemical processes for wafer fabrication and Modutek has developed innovative software and process steps that help reduce customer costs while increasing throughput and minimizing defective or low-quality semiconductor products. Modutek’s in house expertise resulting from designing, building and testing its own equipment allows the company to offer customized systems that exactly meet the needs of each customer. A high level of customer service completes the focus on customer satisfaction.

Innovation and Customer Focus

Modutek has become a top supplier to the global semiconductor wafer cleaning system market by introducing innovative solutions to address customer concerns in a changing technical and commercial environment. In general, the company introduces new systems that increase productivity while reducing costs. More specifically, new products allow for maintaining or even increasing yield in the face of challenges from denser component packing and more complex microstructures on the silicon wafer.

In an initiative to reduce wafer particle counts by eliminating particles added during the move from the last etch to the drying chamber, Modutek has introduced a single chamber process. Instead of exposing wafers to contamination during additional handling, the HF acid last etch and IPA drying are performed in the same chamber, eliminating a transfer step. In recent tests, Modutek has been able to demonstrate that the single chamber process is effective in achieving very low particle counts and higher quality outputs.

In addition to such specific innovations, Modutek has developed comprehensive automation solutions that help reduce error and waste. The fully automated Modutek wet process stations deliver accurate chemical dosages and precise process times to ensure exact execution of programmed process steps. Such automation is cost-effective and provides the tight process control required for the latest wafer fabrication tasks.

The Benefits of Choosing Modutek as a Supplier

In addition to the company’s lengthy experience as a semiconductor equipment manufacturer in a field that has a high turnover of suppliers, Modutek distinguishes itself through its in house expertise. All software and equipment design is carried out by Modutek engineers and all equipment is assembled and tested in house. As a result, Modutek can offer unparalleled service and support without having to call on third parties to help out. As a top supplier to its market, Modutek can propose the right solutions to particular customer’s requirements deliver the needed equipment from its extensive range and offer seamless support as needed.

Changes to the SPM Process Improves Efficiency and Results

The sulfuric acid hydrogen peroxide mixture (SPM) process effectively strips and cleans wafers but suffers from instability due to the decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide. A heated bath improves performance but increases the rate at which hydrogen peroxide changes into water. Periodically spiking the mixture with extra hydrogen peroxide can restore the required concentration but affects the strip rate. As a result, the SPM mixture has to be changed frequently, leading to high costs for chemicals and frequent downtime on wet bench stations. Working closely with a local semiconductor manufacturer, Modutek has developed a “bleed and feed” process upgrade that addresses these problems and results in substantially longer mixture life and improved process results.

The SPM Process

A typical mixture for the SPM strip and clean process is one part hydrogen peroxide to three parts sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid parts can go as high as 7 parts but once the process has started, if the concentration changes, the strip rate can change as well. The mixture is heated to 130 to 140 degrees centigrade to increase the strip rate. The higher the temperature, the faster the hydrogen peroxide decomposes to water, diluting the mixture.

To keep hydrogen peroxide in the mixture, more of the chemical is periodically added to the process, spiking the concentration back to its original level. Despite this, the mixture is normally usable for only a few hours at a time and typically has to be replaced several times a day. Replacing the mixture is costly and requires repeated downtime when processing has to wait for a new pour. In addition to the costs of the chemicals, there are treatment and disposal costs that are required to comply with environmental regulations.

Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” Process Change

Modutek has developed a hydrogen peroxide spiking method that keeps the chemical mixture at a predictable concentration and avoids the requirement for frequent replacement. The method reduces consumption of the chemicals and lets the system run for extended periods without down- time.

Using a two-tank dirty and clean tank process, the “bleed and feed” method involves draining a programmable amount of mixture from the dirty tank prior to each process step. Another programmable amount is fed from the clean tank to the dirty tank. Then programmable amount of sulfuric acid is added to the clean tank and both tanks receive programmable amount of hydrogen peroxide.

When the entire mixture has to be replaced, normally about once every week, the system has a quick drain feature that reduces down time and gets the process up and running again quickly. The whole “bleed and feed” spiking method is PLC controlled and the periodic adding and spiking of chemicals allows the mixture to be used continuously for days at a time.

Benefits of the Modutek Process Change

In addition to savings related to the reduced use of chemicals, the new update improves overall efficiency and achieves better results. Instead of having to shut down the wet bench station every shift to pour new acid, the process can run for days and only requires a complete chemical change once per week. In addition, the process is cleaner and can deliver better cleaning and stripping performance.

Modutek is offering the SPM process upgrade on their new wet bench stations and can provide details regarding chemical use and performance. The company has the experience and expertise to help customers more effectively use the SPM and other processes to ensure they obtain the results they need. Call Modutek at 866-803-1533 for any questions you have with using either the updated SPM process or other wet processes needed for your application.

 

Modutek at 2018 Semicon Conference in China

2018 Semicon Conference ChinaModutek Corporation, a leading provider of wet bench stations and wet process equipment, will be at the Semicon Conference in Shanghai China from March 14-16, 2018 with their factory representative Laserwort Ltd.  They will be located in Hall N2 at booth 2431. Information about the Semicon Conference can be referenced at http://www.semiconchina.org/ and details on Modutek’s attendance at the conference can be referenced at: Modutek at Semicon Conference in China

Come by the Modutek /Laserwort booth to get information and answer any questions you have about using Wet Bench Process Stations for acid/base, solvent and ozone cleaning or photo resist strip.  In addition Modutek will also provide information about the benefits of their new IPA vapor dryer with the HF last process. Modutek serves customers around the world who require any type of wet processing equipment and builds chemical delivery systems for pharmaceutical, biochemical, solar and semiconductor manufacturing.

Additional details on some of Modutek’s products are listed below:

Single Chamber HF Last IPA Vapor Dryer

Benefits include:

  • Most drying cycles completed within 10 to 15 minutes
  • Very low consumption of IPA
  • No moving parts inside drying chamber eliminating wafer breakage
  • Eliminates watermarks
  • Drying technology can be designed into wet bench eliminating one transfer step

Features include:

  • Single drying chamber for DI water rinsing and IPA vapor drying
  • On board HF metering for precision mix ratios
  • Uses an in situ HF etch process with a rinse step before the IPA drying cycle
  • Filter bypass for contamination control with no cassette contact points
  • Easy to change IPA bottles
  • Handles all process sizes (standard wafer carriers to glass substrates)

 

Fully-automated Wet Bench Equipment

Benefits include:

  • In house customization to meet customer process requirements
  • Precise automated process execution and reliable repeatability
  • Full automation control with touch screen
  • Improved yield and reduced errors
  • SolidWorks Simulation software for accurate calculation of process parameters
  • All robotics and software design designed in house
  • Complete design, assembly and test at one location to meet your specifications

 

Semi-automated Wet Bench Equipment:

Benefits Include:

  • Automation control with touch screen
  • Servo motor automation
  • SolidWorks Flow Simulation software
  • SolidWorks Simulation Professional software
  • All robotics and software designed and developed in house
  • Complete design, assembly and test at one location to meet your specifications

 

Manual Wet Bench Equipment:

Benefits Include:

  • High end manual equipment at competitive pricing
  • Meets or exceeds all current safety standards
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Designed to meet any process requirements
  • Can accommodate custom designs and processes
  • Equipment designed for future expansion

 

All wet bench equipment supports the following applications:

  • KOH Etching
  • Quartz cleaning
  • Ozone Strip
  • Ozone Cleaning
  • SC1 & SC2 (RCA Clean)
  • Megasonic Cleaning
  • BOE (Buffered Oxide Etching)
  • MEMs processing
  • All solvent applications
  • Hot phosphoric (Nitride Etching)
  • SPM Cleaning
  • Precision Part Cleaning

Modutek has over 37 years of industry experience and expertise in developing and building wet bench stations and wet process equipment that provides highly reliable results for precision processes. They also provide world-class service, and customer support. Contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected] for a free quote or consultation to discuss your requirements.

 

How the Silicon Nitride Wet Etching Process is Improved by Modutek

Silicon nitride is used as a mask when etching silicon wafers during the semiconductor manufacturing process. Before the silicon wafer can be processed further, the silicon nitride has to be removed. A solution of phosphoric acid and de-ionized water etches the silicon nitride while leaving the wafer unaffected. As a result, the silicon nitride is stripped from the wafer surface and a clean wafer is left for further fabrication steps.

To optimize the silicon nitride wet etching process, the phosphoric acid solution is kept at a high temperature. This means some of the de-ionized water boils off as steam and has to be replaced. Adding water to phosphoric acid can be extremely dangerous and can result in an explosion. In addition, keeping the temperature of the solution constant is important for accurate control of the stripping process. Modutek has improved both the safety and the control of the nitride wet etching process with its Nb series silicon nitride wet etching baths.

How the Process Works

A solution of 85 percent phosphoric acid and 15 percent de-ionized water is heated to a boil at about 160 degrees centigrade. Some of the water boils off as steam and part of the steam is condensed and placed back in the solution. Some steam escapes and de-ionized water has to be added periodically. The solution is kept at the boiling point by a heater and the process temperature can be tightly controlled. With the Modutek system, nitride etch is uniform and there are no “bumps” in the chemical concentration or temperature.

How Modutek Controls the Etching Process Safely and Accurately

The two challenges faced when operating a boiling phosphoric acid bath is the safe replacement of the de-ionized water lost to steam and an accurate control of the process. If water is added to the solution too quickly, the solution may stop boiling and a film of water can accumulate on top of the viscous acid. If the water of the film then suddenly mixes with the acid, a strong reaction can occur, and an explosion is possible. Adding water in this way also makes accurate control of the process difficult.

In the Modutek system, the heater that boils the solution is always switched on. The solution is always heated up to the boiling point and further heating only increases the boiling rate but not the temperature. This control strategy results in a clearly defined temperature for the boiling solution, which will always be at its boiling point.

The boiling point of a phosphoric acid and water solution varies with the concentration, increasing as the solution loses water to steam. A thermocouple in the bath senses the increasing temperature and gives the signal to add water. De-ionized water is slowly added to the boiling solution. Because the acid is boiling rapidly, the small amounts of water are immediately mixed in and don’t form a surface film. Adding water in this way is safe and controlling the process by monitoring the concentration through the temperature rise is accurate.

Additional Safety Features

Since the silicon nitride wet etching process depends on keeping the solution at the boiling point, additional safety interlocks in Modutek’s etching baths are in place to insure no water is added if the solution is not boiling. A thermocouple above the solution senses the presence of hot steam and shuts off the water valve if steam is not present. To ensure the solution does not overheat, another thermocouple switches off the heaters when the temperature of the solution reaches 170 degrees centigrade. With its advanced control system and the additional safety interlocks, Modutek has improved the silicon nitride wet etching process with better control, accuracy and increased safety.

 

How the KOH Etching Process is Improved Using Modutek’s Teflon Tanks

Among the different approaches available to foundries that create intricate integrated circuitry on semiconductor chips, etching with potassium hydroxide (KOH) is frequently preferred for the error-free mass-production that it allows.

The improvement in precision that the KOH etching process brings to semiconductor fabrication is attributable in large part to the use of deionized water. When employed with high alkalinity in excess of pH 12, this process can be thermally adjusted for precise degrees of etching.

How does the use of potassium hydroxide improve the semiconductor etching process?

While dry semiconductor etching processes do exist, they tend to present challenges in process control. Semiconductor wafers etched in this way tend to suffer from quality control issues. Dry etching processes can be difficult to build and run, as well — toxic and explosive chemicals often seen as byproducts, after all.

Greater precision

Etching with potassium hydroxide offers greater precision, and lends itself to improved control, as well.

The fluids employed in the KOH etching process are stored in tanks built into the equipment. One of the most cost-effective and meaningful choices to make in KOH etching processes: to place Teflon tanks within the etching equipment in order to hold the fluids employed. Teflon tanks can make the KOH etching process safer than other options available.

It is possible to structure the KOH etching process in a way to easily create repeat manufacturing projects, as well. When such projects come in from different clients, fabrication units can focus their strengths on setting up the equipment, worrying as little as possible about safety or reliability.

Opting for fewer contaminants and greater cleanliness

Customization is one of the greatest most significant improvements that Modutek brings to the KOH etching equipment business — one where generic, mass-produced Teflon tanks are the norm. Modutek’s Teflon tanks are especially capable of bringing impurity quantities to levels that are impressively low. The result is greater reliability and consistency over an extended period of time.

Greater control

Modutek’s Teflon tanks come with highly customizable temperature settings. Temperature control is achieved either through in-line heating and cooling equipment installed, or through immersion in liquid tanks. It is precisely varied anywhere between 30°C to 100°C. Temperature changes dialed up our achieved at a fast rate of 2°C a minute, on average (although tank size does affect response rates).

Modutek brings customization to the table

Modutek designs Teflon tanks for the specific needs of each client installation. Whether a fabrication plant requires temperature controlled recirculating baths for their KOH etching processes or temperature controlled static baths, Modutek’s Teflon tanks deliver both freedom from water loss and freedom from concentration deficiency.

From dual heating Teflon tanks for fast and consistent water-based etching, to the installation of drains and valves that enable rapid cleanup, high-tech remote data interfaces, controllers and timers, Modutek’s clients have their choice of every advance in KOH etching.

 

How to Improve Your Silicon Wet Etching Process

Semiconductor research labs and fabrication facilities employ high-precision silicon wet etching processes that are capable of delivering quality product in a consistent way. This is no mean feat: the microscopic structures etched on semiconductor wafers require processes that meet microscopic tolerances while reducing the minutest of impurities. Fabs are always on the lookout for improvements to make in these processes; the aim is to minimize the number of errors made during each of several processes. Results depend on constant efforts in the area of identifying the best etching processes, and utilizing the best equipment.

The Wafer Etching Process

The process of etching micro-circuitry on silicon wafers requires a complex multi-layered fabrication approach. It usually requires multiple cleaning, masking, and etching processes that involve the precise deposition of metal traces and components. At different stages along the way, these processes require the use of chemical baths of various kinds, each aimed at achieving different, specific results. At the end of one of these precisely designed processes, silicon wafers with traces, electrical connections and electronic components, all etched on a microscopic scale, emerge ready for market.

There are various requirements for an error-free process — precise control over the speed at which etching is done, and the ability to achieve extreme levels of cleanliness in the work areas in which etching is done, are two primary requirements. There are many others, as well.

Silicon nitride: Silicon nitride is applied to mask parts of wafers during the phosphoric acid etching process. Achieving greater precision in this process delivers superior results. In general, fabs do much better with the fabrication process when they possess over on-the-fly control over acid concentration and temperature.

Piranha etching: At semiconductor fabs, piranha etching is done using a mixture of piranha solution — a blend of hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid. Chemical baths need to be carefully controlled to supply the right chemical mix at the right time.

Potassium hydroxide: The etching process requires the use of potassium hydroxide solution in the creation of microscopic structures on semiconductor wafers. Achieving precise and error-free etches requires an ability to closely control the concentration of the solution, the temperature, the orientation of the silicon crystal and silicon purity. These variables can change during the etch process, and error-free results requires the ability to respond by speeding up or slowing down etch rate.

Buffered oxide etch: This is a process that employs hydrofluoric acid in addition to a buffering agent in order to etch fine masking films of silicon dioxide or silicon nitride. When correctly controlled, the process delivers a consistent and repeatable result that works with photoresist.

When it comes to improved silicon etching performance, the key to high-quality results is to utilize processing equipment from a vendor with proven experience and support. Modutek answers this requirement with 35 years in the field. Not only is Modutek able to supply the equipment, they are able to advise clients on the customizations needed to meet their requirements.

Choosing Equipment with the Right Features for Each Stage of the Wafer Etching Process

Modutek’s silicon wet etching equipment comes with some of the most advanced features on the market today:

Flow control and filtration control: Modutek’s precision acid filters are effective down to the 0.2 µm range and are able to work continuously to enable reuse of acid. This provides considerable savings in acid consumption.

Precision control of temperature: An ability to precisely control the temperature of an etching bath can result in lower error rates and reliable output. In any process, Modutek’s equipment comes with the ability to control temperatures to within 1 degree of required settings.

Precision tech design: Potassium hydroxide requires the use of Teflon tanks; piranha solution requires quartz. Modutek designs these tanks in a wide variety of configurations and sizes.

Modutek is dedicated to helping clients find ways to improve the efficiency of their silicon wet etching processes, improve productivity and output quality. To this end, Modutek’s offers extensive consultation and equipment customization needed to meet each customer’s requirements.

Determining Which Wafer Processing Station Will Meet Your Requirements

Wet bench stations come in a variety of configurations designed for different applications. It can be difficult to make a selection from the many possibilities and make sure the equipment you choose will best meet your requirements. One way to cut down on the uncertainty and to structure the selection process is to emphasize three areas where your needs have to be satisfied.

A Wafer Processing Station has to comply with the standards and regulations in effect for your operation; it has to be able to carry out the processes that you are considering; and it has to be automated in accordance with what you need. When you consider these three areas and find equipment that fulfills your requirements in each one, you will be closer to making a final selection.

Compliance with Standards

Wet bench standards aim to ensure safe operation and resistance to combustion. Modutek wet bench stations comply with the following standards:

  • NFPA 70 – National Fire Protection
  • NFPA 79 – Safety of Industrial Machinery
  • NEC – National Electrical Code
  • UL508a -Standard for Industrial Control Panels

If the equipment is to be installed outside the US, Modutek can also comply with the national standards of Europe (CE Mark), Canada (CSA) and Australia/New Zealand (AS/NZS3000). In addition to complying with these standards, Modutek can supply third party certification for compliance.

Applications

Depending on the process required, Modutek can supply the right systems and advise on the advantages of specific products from their complete line of wet bench equipment. Standard Modutek wet bench stations can support both acid and solvent processes while the stainless-steel line is designed for solvent processes such as those using acetone or IPA. Optional equipment for specific processes is also available.

Automation

Modutek offers manual, semi-automated and fully automated wet bench stations. Which best meets your requirements depends on how you plan to conduct wet process operations. A manual bench may be appropriate for low volume custom or prototype device processes. For higher volume with standard processes, a degree of automation improves your throughput and reduces human error. Modutek’s stations are all built with the same high-quality materials, but the company can supply the degree of automation that matches your needs.

Manual wet bench stations feature competitive pricing with a low total cost of ownership. Modutek can supply the benches at any size and length and to meet any wet process needs. Custom designs are possible and future expansion of the process line is easy.

Semi-automated wet bench stations include robots for uniformity of process execution without the cost of full automation. The servomotors of the robots operate with three degrees of freedom and give you precise control of etching and cleaning. The Modutek-designed software, SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation, calculates process flow. The semi-automated wet bench stations have all the features and characteristics of the manual stations but include a touch screen with a graphic user interface to control the robotics and run the process.

Fully automated wet bench stations track chemical use and ensure precise dosages and accurate process control for improved yields and excellent repeatability. The elimination of human error and fully automated control is especially important for processes with tightly packed semiconductor structures and dense circuitry. Full automation guarantees a consistent process environment that reduces defects and improves output quality.

Modutek designs, assembles and tests all robotic equipment in house and is therefore ideally situated to advise customers on solutions to meet their needs and customize equipment to fit any customer application. The company can help clearly define process requirements for their customers and then propose solutions that allow customers to determine which wafer processing station is ideal for their facility.

 

 

 

The Benefits of Using Modutek’s Quartz Tube Cleaning Stations

The semiconductor wafer is the substructure on which the circuitry of every computer chip is laid down. Semiconductor wafers are fabricated in high-tech foundries, and require a precise, ultra-clean operation. One of the most basic requirements of a semiconductor wafer operation: reliably clean quartz tubes. Quartz tube cleaning stations are required equipment at every semiconductor foundry.

Most have several units stationed at different parts of the manufacturing process, each one specifically tuned and adjusted to the requirements of specific applications. Since the quartz tube cleaning process requires the use of corrosive chemicals, it takes an involved manufacturer and installer of quartz tube cleaning stations to design and install custom units for specific client needs.

How do quartz tube cleaning stations help?

Quartz tubes being delicate articles, cleaning them can be risk-prone. The ideal quartz tube cleaning process, therefore, minimizes human handling at every stage. This is the reason automated quartz tube cleaning stations are essential at any semiconductor wafer foundry.

With Modutek’s quartz tube cleaning stations, the handling of tubes during the cleaning process is mostly avoided — cleaning stations are designed to keep quartz tubes in motion while they are etched, and powerful nozzles direct water spray at the quartz tubes to maximize coverage Custom-designed cleaning stations come with many other options that can be applied to specific needs. Automated processes and nitrogen-drying can help in specific parts of the manufacturing process, for instance.

What do quartz tube cleaning stations look like?

The quartz tube cleaning stations designed and fabricated by Modutek are built out of white polypropylene. The cleaning processes are controlled by systems that can be turned to manual or automated mode, and units can be customized to specific height levels to perfectly fit the processes to which they are to be applied. Workers at these stations are protected from the acid cycle with PVC safety shields, and other standard features include hand-sprayers for deionized water, and Teflon guns for nitrogen use.

Clients are presented with a wide array of choices comes to customization. The station can be constructed out of FM 4910, or can include a hot nitrogen drying process as needed, for example. The right kind of holding tanks, automated bottle washers and other features can be designed and applied where necessary, and quality certifications required by third parties are arranged for, as well.

Automation, where needed

Modutek’s quartz tube cleaning stations can be designed and customized with optional automation for process lines that need it. From automated program recipes to tube roller systems, every part of the process can be made more efficient with automation. The operator merely monitors and controls the process through information presented on a screen, and can control various functions remotely. From bottle washing to drying, every part of the process is remotely monitored.

Automated processes do not actually require operator intervention. Processes, once they are set off, can go through to completion without operator input. Manual functions, when they are necessary in certain processes, can be remotely controlled at any point.

A process design that is set up to help the operator test different cycle times, is one of the most important parts of a properly designed automated system. Modutek offers a well-designed process to aid in testing. Once the right times are discovered, they can be locked in place to prevent accidental change

Modutek’s quartz tube cleaning stations, whether manual and automatic, are fully designed in-house. In-house design expertise helps ensure superior performance in any installation. With ultra-cleanliness being a basic requirement of the semiconductor fabrication process, customization to individual process needs is an absolute necessity for effective design. Modutek’s close control of the design of these appliances helps make it happen. Clients find Modutek’s complete, end-to-end support immensely helpful in the design of their lines. Whatever the application, Modutek has the expertise to evaluate, assess, design and deliver turnkey solutions.

 

Custom Fabrication Services for Unique Wafer Processing Requirements

When research labs or semiconductor manufacturing facilities face special requirements for projects orfor prototypes, they may need custom equipment to carry out their plans. Special tanks, stations or carriers may be required to make a particular semiconductor product. Modutek specializes in custom design and development and can meet all the customization needs of their customers. The company can produce special components, systems or processes as required and has certified fabricators for welding and plumbing to carry out the work.

Typical Applications

When new products are developed, single items are manufactured or prototypes are required for testing, existing wafer processing equipment may not be suitable for the job. Even when semiconductors are manufactured on a continuing basis, suppliers may change and the regulatory environment may impose additional requirements or change existing ones. In such cases, a custom solution to retrofit equipment, add new components or change parts may be the most appropriate and cost effective solution.

Semiconductor manufacturing facilities may want to implement customization in the absence of external changes. New technologies often make processes more efficient, less costly or they may result in higher quality output. Making minor changes in a process can speed up production and increase throughput. Tweaking the manufacturing process with customized components can result in better facility performance and can improve profitability.

Typical Customizations

While Modutek can accommodate all kinds of customer requests for special applications, there are many typical examples of changes required in existing equipment to let semiconductor manufacturers adapt their productions lines to current requirements. Modutek can examine the issues that make changes necessary and advise customers of the various possibilities that will satisfy their needs.

If a process has to be changed to allow implementation of a different sequence of fabrication steps, baths may have to be changed from static to re-circulating, heating may have to be added or the chemical delivery system may have to be changed. On the other hand, the main equipment may still be suitable but the monitoring system may have to be adapted, different sensors added and the software re-written.

Fully automated or semi-automated stations are very flexible but may have to be upgraded for new processes or new equipment may have to be integrated into the production line. Additional surface treatments, stress relief, thinning or texturing may be needed. Enhanced environmental regulations may require new treatment of waste and new safety standards may mean additional safety equipment.

When the process, regulations, outside requirements or raw material inputs change, customization of existing production lines to satisfy the new requirements is often the best and least expensive option. When deciding on how to proceed, it is important to have a partner who has experience and the required capabilities to explore all the options and present their advantages and disadvantages.

Modutek Can Help

With over 35 years of experience in wet bench technology, Modutek can advise customers what solutions are most appropriate for their needs and what level of customization is required. Modutek can draw on the company’s complete line of wafer processing equipment for semiconductor fabrication, but because all the equipment is designed and built in house, Modutek is also ideally situated to deliver custom solutions.

Modutek engineers have the experience and expertise to design and build customized equipment from the ground up. As a result, they know exactly what works best and how existing equipment can be modified. When it comes to software, Modutek developed its own SolidWorks simulation application and the company designs and writes all automation software for its fully automated and semi-automated stations. On both the hardware and software side, Modutek can help with custom solutions to meet any specialized requirements.

Single Wafer Processing Spurs Demand for Wafer Cleaning Equipment

Wafer cleaning equipment suppliers have to invest heavily in research and development to keep abreast of rapidly changing technologies and changing market conditions. Single wafer processing is one such change factor, spurring demand for wafer cleaning equipment and promising a rapid increase in market size. The wet process equipment supplier market is characterized by high barriers to entry since it requires substantial initial investment with high continuing costs. On the other hand, single wafer processing in mini-fab operations is very attractive due to flexibility and the speed with which a single wafer can be processed. As a result, the market may see additional entrants while existing suppliers try to keep up with the anticipated growth.

Wafer Cleaning Equipment Market Details

The global wafer cleaning equipment market size was about US $ 4 billion in 2016 and it is expected to grow to over US $ 7 billion by 2024. While semiconductor demand generally is fueling this growth, the use of single wafer processing is one of the factors that is behind the increasing demand for semiconductor cleaning equipment. Mini-fab facilities feature short cycle times and production lines that allow semiconductor manufacturers to quickly meet changing market conditions.

Single wafer processing uses ozonized water and hydrofluoric acid in single spin technology to reduce cycle times and increase output flexibility. As increasing numbers of operators jump into this segment of the semiconductor manufacturing industry, the demand for wafer cleaning equipment is skyrocketing.

Another factor in cleaning equipment market growth is the market for printed electronics. The technology creates electronic devices by printing on substrates and requires clean wafers as an input. Its primary advantage is low cost for high volume and the outputs are inexpensive, low-performance items such as RFID tags and smart labels.

The combination of single wafer processing and the high volume expected for printed electronics means that the almost doubling of market size over the next seven years is realistic. When electronic tags proliferate in transportation and retail and processors from single wafer mini-fabs become common in many industries that are not high users of electronics at present, the need for wafer cleaning equipment as an input for these market segments becomes clear.

Single Wafer Cleaning Techniques

Single wafer processing is only competitive when the cycle times for individual wafers are low and the output quality is at least comparable to wet batch processing. Single wafer spin processing can be used to etch silicon and provide a wet process for mini-fab single wafer cleaning. Spin processing can limit etching to one side of the wafer and can be used for wafer thinning. Single wafer cleaning is often carried out with megasonic cleaning because this method dislodges the tiniest particles and results in a low particle count for the finished substrate. As semiconductor manufacturers embrace single wafer processing, single wafer cleaning equipment is being brought out in the market.

Some single wafer processes are attractive because they deliver better results than traditional processes. Megasonic cleaning in particular can reduce particle counts for the smallest particles. The cleaning method uses megasonic sound waves in the cleaning solution to generate cavitation bubbles. When the bubbles collapse due to changing sound pressure they release energy that can free tiny particles from the substrate surface. Particle counts are often lower than with chemical cleaning methods.

Modutek’s Silicon Wafer Cleaning Equipment

Modutek has over 35 years of experience in providing the latest state-of-the-art silicon wafer cleaning and processing equipment. The company can help customers with advice on semiconductor manufacturing equipment and offers a complete line of wet processing systems. Modutek is ideally situated to benefit from the increased demand for silicon wafer cleaning equipment.