How the IPA Vapor Dryer Further Improves Wafer Processing

The Advantages of Using Modutek's Quartz Tube Cleaning StationsWhen silicon wafers are dried after rinsing, the wafer surface has to be free of water marks and contaminating particles. This is especially true after hydrofluoric acid removes the silicon oxide layer during the last etching before further processing. The wafers are subsequently exposed to diffusion or vapor deposition and surface contamination will result in defective components.

During the IPA vapor dryer process, water flows off the surfaces of the wafers without evaporating and leaving water marks. Particle contamination is minimized and the wafers remain clean. The Modutek IPA vapor dryer is a space-saving way of ensuring high-quality semiconductor output for wet process manufacturing facilities and research labs.

Modutek’s IPA Vapor Dryer Delivers Clean Wafers While Reducing Costs

Modutek’s IPA vapor dryer incorporates rinsing and drying in a single station to reduce costs, save space, and minimize the handling of the silicon wafers. The station first rinses the wafers with de-ionized water and then introduces IPA vapor into the drying cabinet. The vapor is generated in a one-gallon bottle situated in the exhaust compartment for easy changing.

The IPA vapor is introduced into the drying chamber from the top to ensure even distribution, reducing the amount of IPA required and further reducing costs. When the IPA vapor condenses on the wafers, a surface tension gradient develops between the IPA and the remaining water. The water flows off the wafer surfaces, taking contaminating particles with it. The dry wafer surface doesn’t have any water marks and is practically particle-free.

Advantages and Benefits of Modutek’s IPA Dryer

Modutek’s IPA dryer lets operators transfer the silicon wafers from the last etch processing station to the dryer chamber without any further movement of the wafers. Wafers are fragile and can easily pick up particles when moved. With the single rinsing and drying chamber, wafers avoid damage and remain as particle-free as possible.

The IPA drying method is a gentler alternative to heat drying or rotating the wafers to spin off excess water. Heating leaves particles in place and thin wafers can break when spun rapidly. Instead, the IPA dryer has no moving parts, eliminating sources of potential damage to the wafers. A drying cycle typically takes around 15 minutes.

IPA dryer cabinets are a compact 30 inches wide and made of white polypropylene. The graphic user interface operates via a touch screen and features multiple recipes. The SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software calculates process flow characteristics and often reduces the required drying time. The Modutek IPA vapor dryer is a customizable unit that can be designed to fit into customer wet process lines and meet customer requirements.

Modutek Designs and Builds Their IPA Dryer Systems in House

Modutek’s IPA dryer is designed, built and tested at the company’s San Jose, California facility. Modutek does not outsource any of this work and even develops its own software, the SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation programs. As a result, Modutek can offer highly customized versions of its IPA dryer. Modutek engineers can work with customers to integrate the IPA vapor dryer in an existing wet process line or design a custom free-standing unit to meet the requirements of the customer application.

With more than 40 years of experience in wet process semiconductor manufacturing equipment, Modutek can analyze the needs of its customers with a free consultation. The company can then recommend equipment from its complete wet process equipment line and from associated equipment such as tanks, chemical handling equipment and lift stations. In each case, Modutek can offer customized systems and equipment to meet the needs of its customers.

The Advantages of Using Modutek’s Quartz Tube Cleaning Stations

The Advantages of Using Modutek's Quartz Tube Cleaning StationsAfter a quartz tube is used in a high-temperature semiconductor manufacturing process, it has to be cleaned thoroughly to remove contamination. Process steps such as diffusion leave traces of diffused material on the tube and the high-temperature furnace leaves contaminants. A Quartz tube cleaning station removes the surface contaminants and leaves the quartz tube clean and free of particles, ready for its next use.

Effective Quartz Tube Cleaning Is Critical for Output Quality

Quartz tubes are used as an inert container for semiconductor manufacturing processes such as vapor deposition and diffusion. The wafers inside the quartz tube are inserted into a furnace that can reach 1000 degrees centigrade. The semiconductor characteristics and the circuit paths of semiconductor components are created during these process steps. After use, the quartz tube surface has deposits from the furnace and from the process. Before it can be used again, the deposits have to be removed and the quartz tube has to be cleaned in a way that minimizes the particle count on its surfaces.

In a quartz tube cleaner, an acid spray dissolves the surface contaminants and washes them away. The clean tube is then rinsed with de-ionized water and dried carefully without introducing any new contaminating particles. Because quartz tubes are fragile and because handling them introduces new contamination, a degree of automation for quartz tube cleaning can be beneficial.

Minimizing the particle count is especially important for subsequent semiconductor manufacturing steps such as masking or etching. When micro-structures are etched into the wafers or current paths are created on masked wafers, even a single particle can affect a microstructure or block a current path. Such effects can lead to defective or poor quality semiconductor components. Manufacturing facility throughput is reduced by large numbers of rejected products and output quality can suffer.

Modutek’s Quartz Tube Cleaners Deliver Substantial Benefits

Quartz tube furnaces are typically placed in several locations along a semiconductor production line and each requires reliable cleaning. The benefits of Modutek’s quartz tube cleaning stations include the following:

  • Customization. Modutek designs and builds its quartz tube cleaning stations in house. As a result, the company can easily customize each station to exactly meet specific requirements.
  • Rugged, reliable construction. Made from white polypropylene, the cleaners feature a rugged tube roller system and powerful cleaning nozzles that ensure complete coverage.
  • Safe operation. Operators are protected with PVC safety shields and safety interlocks. The systems include emergency off mushroom buttons.
  • Variety of Options. Modutek offers many options, including hot N2 drying, acid holding tanks and acid mixing, lift stations and onboard bottle washers.
  • Automation. The cleaners can be operated manually or fully automatic. If required, different steps can be automated while others can be carried out manually. Manual operation can test out the cleaning process and then run it fully automated.

Modutek horizontal quartz tube cleaners deliver reliable cleaning with the degree of automation ideal for the specific process application. Handling of the tubes is minimized and an extremely high degree of cleanliness is achieved consistently.

Modutek Designs, Builds and Supports the Equipment Needed for an Application

With its in house expertise and extensive experience in semiconductor manufacturing equipment, Modutek can analyze a manufacturing process and provide equipment to fulfill the process requirements. The complete line of Modutek wet processing equipment is developed in house so that the design and manufacturing knowledge stays in the company. As a result, Modutek can design and build equipment to meet specific needs. Customers can ask for a free consultation and select standard stations from the Modutek wet process line or receive customized equipment that fulfills their requirements.

Achieving Optimum Particle Removal in a Wet Bench Process

Achieving Optimum Particle Removal in a Wet Bench ProcessAs component packing is tighter and circuit geometries trend towards smaller structures, the reduction of submicron particle contamination during the wet bench process steps becomes more important for output quality. When circuit paths are reduced in size, a single submicron particle can block the path and render the final semiconductor component defective. Even when the presence of particles doesn’t cause defects, their influence on semiconductor performance can reduce the quality and lifespan of the final products.

Semiconductor manufacturing facilities and research labs using typical wet bench equipment face challenges when trying to reduce submicron particle contamination to acceptable levels. Innovative solutions such as the use of Megasonic Cleaning and the reduction of wafer handling with a single chamber IPA dryer can help bring down the particle count. When such solutions are integrated directly into the wet bench processing line, throughput and yields can increase. The process may require fewer chemicals and overall facility performance can improve.

How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Particle Contamination

The use of high-frequency sound waves in cleaning systems is common in many industries but the delicate silicon wafer structures and surfaces require extra-high frequencies to make sure wafers are not damaged. Megasonic cleaners use frequencies of 950 kHz and higher, in the megahertz range, to deliver the soft cleaning action required.

The sound waves from lower frequency systems create microscopic but comparatively large cavitation bubbles in the cleaning bath. The bubbles produce intense scrubbing against the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned, dislodging contaminants and delivering a powerful cleaning action. For the soft surfaces, delicate structures and thin metallic deposits of silicon wafers, such intense cleaning can result in the pitting of surfaces and damage to silicon structures.

In Megasonic cleaning systems, the high-frequency sound waves produce smaller bubbles and more gentle scrubbing. The cleaning action is soft enough to preserve silicon surfaces and structures but strong enough to dislodge contaminating particles. The particles often adhere to the wafer surfaces and are difficult to dislodge with normal rinsing. Megasonic Cleaning breaks the adhesion and creates currents that wash the particles away.

The Megasonic Cleaning action is especially important for submicron particles where the adhesion to the wafer surface inside a boundary layer makes rinsing less effective. The soft scrubbing of tiny bubbles against the wafer dislodges submicron particles effectively and reduces particle contamination.

How the Single Chamber IPA Dryer Reduces Particle Contamination

One of the ways silicon wafers pick up contaminating particles is during the transfer from etching to drying stations. This transfer is especially critical for HF last etching. During the final etching in a wafer fabrication step, the silicon oxide layer is removed through etching with hydrofluoric acid. The wafer is then rinsed and dried before moving on to the next fabrication step. Particles remaining on the wafer surface can interfere with the subsequent fabrication process.

In an innovative development that eliminates this source of particle contamination, a single chamber handles HF last etching and IPA vapor drying. First, hydrofluoric acid is injected into the station chamber to etch the wafer. When etching is complete, the wafer is rinsed with de-ionized water until the acid is neutralized to a safe pH. IPA vapor is then introduced into the station chamber, and after about 15 minutes, the wafers are dry and ready for the next fabrication step. The particle count remains low because the wafers have not been moved throughout the etching and drying process.

Modutek Provides Innovative Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment for Excellent Results

Modutek works closely with customers to develop innovative wet bench stations that meet their requirements. Attention to customer needs and finding new solutions to common problems allow the company to remain one of the leading wet bench manufacturers.

For Megasonic Cleaning applications, Modutek has partnered with Kaijo Corporation, a world leader in high sound frequency cleaning technology. Modutek’s integration of the Kaijo Megasonic cleaners into the wet bench product line has produced low particle counts that are difficult to obtain with other methods.

Because Modutek designs and builds its own etching and IPA drying stations in house, the company was able to develop its innovative single chamber station and integrate it into its comprehensive wet process product line. In parallel with Megasonic Cleaning, the single chamber station further reduces particle counts, improves yields and reduces costs. On these and other wet process questions, Modutek offers free consultations to ensure customers get the best equipment for their needs.

How Customized Equipment Improves Silicon Wafer Processing

How Customized Equipment Improves Silicon Wafer ProcessingBecause semiconductor manufacturing is made up of a large number of steps, silicon wafer processing often includes unique requirements. Standard equipment may be suitable to some extent, but using custom equipment adapted to the particular process can improve production line performance. Customization of the physical characteristics of the system, the software, the degree of automation and the process components can impact how well the silicon wafer processing equipment works. An experienced supplier of wet processing equipment can advise customers regarding possible customization and follow up with specific equipment suggestions.

Physical Customization of Wet Process Equipment

Semiconductor manufacturing equipment often has to fit into a defined space or is retrofitted into an existing production line. In either case, the dimensions have to be customized to fit the available space. Modutek can build processing stations and tanks with special dimensions to fit and can arrange components for less depth or less length as required. Because Modutek designs and builds all its own equipment, the company is capable of changing the dimensions of its standard products to fit customer requirements.

Customized Software for Special Calculations

The Modutek SolidWorks Flow Simulation and Simulation Professional software allows customers to accurately calculate chemical dosages and to track chemical usage. Custom installations may require special calculations and the software may have to be adapted to calculate and track custom chemical use. Modutek writes all its own software and can therefore customize and adapt the program code. Customers can rely on Modutek to maintain and support the non-standard software and make sure it works the way the customer wants.

Automation With Customized Characteristics

Modutek’s standard wet processing equipment is available in fully automated, semi-automated or manual versions but customers may require some automated functions while other functions remain manual or semi-automatic. Prototypes often rely on manual controls to define basic process parameters. Then the process is optimized in semi-automatic operation while eventually running in fully automatic mode when in full production. Existing product manufacturing may require only full automation but the manufacturing process may need operators to execute some manual functions.

Depending on the customer’s manufacturing needs, Modutek can design automation combining manual and automatic controls as specified by the customer. The automatic process may run until operator intervention is required to execute a command or check a specific condition. Modutek can adapt its systems to meet such special automation needs.

Customized Process Components and Subsystems

Process components and subsystems may include chemical delivery, baths or tanks, wafer handling and wafer drying. Modutek can integrate some of these functions into a single unit or place separate units into a custom arrangement. For example, a chemical delivery station can have local or remote tanks and can be placed behind the processing stations to save space. An IPA vapor dryer can include de-ionized water rinsing and vapor drying in one unit. With the company’s experience as a leading wet bench manufacturer, Modutek can design custom arrangements that carry out the required wet process functions within the parameters set by the customer.

Modutek’s Customizations Improve Process Performance

Modutek has a complete line of standard wet process stations, all designed and built in house. For new customized projects, the custom system is evaluated for special requirements and possible solutions. Modutek then works closely with the customer to ensure that the chosen customizations reflect the special process requirements and will produce the expected results.

When Modutek builds such custom systems, they choose customization over standard systems because the customization will improve overall performance. Improvements can include higher throughput, better output quality and lower costs. Working transparently with the customer, Modutek can demonstrate how its proposals will produce better results and ensure that the finished system meets expectations.

How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Costs and Improves Silicon Wafer Yields

How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Costs and Improves Silicon Wafer YieldsBetween process steps that etch silicon wafers and deposit circuit paths, semiconductor manufacturing relies on wafer cleaning to remove material from previous process steps and microscopic contaminating particles. As structures and circuits on wafers decrease in size, even the tiniest particles can interfere with etching and the creation of circuits and micro-structures.

Such interference can cause defects in the final semiconductor product, lower product performance or cause a reduced product lifespan. The use of Megasonic Cleaning results in a gentle cleaning action that dislodges particles from wafer surfaces while leaving the wafer, its circuits and structures undamaged. Megasonic Cleaning reduces chemical use and final product rejection rates using a process that is completely safe and environmentally friendly.

Megasonic Cleaning Delivers Quick Results with Safe, Gentle Cleaning Action

Megasonic cleaning systems generate microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution. When a bubble bursts, it produces a tiny jet that dislodges contaminants from the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned. Lower ultrasonic frequencies generate comparatively large bubbles and powerful jets while high frequencies clean with smaller bubbles and less energetic jets.

The tiny structures etched into the silicon and the microscopic metal filaments deposited on the wafers are easily damaged. Products such as microprocessors, micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), and controllers may not work properly if precise cleaning procedures are not followed. Using frequencies above 950 kHz in the megahertz range for cleaning the wafers ensures that the Megasonic Cleaning action takes place with the tiniest bubbles and the least energetic jets. As a result, Megasonic Cleaning is gentle enough to remove contaminating particles while leaving silicon surfaces, micro-structures and metallic deposits intact.

Reduced Use of Chemicals Saves Money

The traditional wafer cleaning process uses strong chemicals to strip contaminants and particles from wafer surfaces. In addition to the cost of purchasing the chemicals, there are costs for storage, handling and disposal. As environmental regulations become more strict, hazardous chemicals have to be stored in special containment facilities. Chemical delivery systems have to include special measures that guard against spills. Once the chemicals are used, they have to be neutralized and disposed of in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. All these measures are expensive and will become more costly as regulations tighten.

Workplace safety is another costly aspect of the use of hazardous chemicals. Operators have to be protected against inadvertent contact with corrosive materials and many of the chemicals emit dangerous vapors that require expensive ventilation equipment. Operators that work with hazardous chemicals need protective clothing that reduces productivity and work accidents can lead to serious injury.

Megasonic Cleaning removes contaminants from wafers and dislodges particles more effectively than chemical methods. The reduced use of chemicals saves money and leads to a safer, more productive workplace environment.

Modutek’s Megasonic Cleaning Improves Sub-Micron Particle Removal

Modutek has partnered with Kaijo Corporation, a world leader in megasonic and ultrasonic cleaning technology, bringing Megasonic Cleaning to wet bench semiconductor manufacturing. Modutek has integrated Megasonic Cleaners into the company’s wet bench equipment to produce unparalleled low particle counts. The bubbles of the Megasonic Cleaning system agitate the cleaning bath to disrupt boundary layers, allowing effective cleaning action around complex microscopic structures and inside holes. The tiny jets produced by the bursting bubbles break the bonds between the wafer surfaces and surface particles and allow the particles to be removed by cleaning solution currents.

The low particle counts achieved by Modutek’s wet bench stations incorporating Megasonic Cleaning reduce defects and improve yields for semiconductor manufacturing lines. Product quality rises while costs go down. Using the latest Modutek Megasonic Cleaning equipment improves overall facility performance for semiconductor manufacturing plants and research labs. Contact Modutek for a free consultation on selecting the right equipment to meet your manufacturing requirements.

How the IPA Vapor Dryer Provides Superior Wafer Processing

After etching and rinsing, an IPA (isopropyl alcohol) vapor dryer can produce dry silicon wafers without watermarks and limited particle adders. In IPA drying, also known as Marangoni drying, the Marangoni effect relies on the low surface tension of IPA compared to water. When IPA vapor is introduced into the drying chamber, a surface tension gradient is established between the IPA and water on the surfaces of the silicon wafers. The surface tension gradient causes the water to flow off the wafers, leaving them clean and dry. The slow drain water feature also helps reduce particles contaminating the wafer surfaces. As a result, IPA vapor drying can be used to produce especially clean, wafers after a final etch and before the next semiconductor manufacturing step.

IPA Vapor Drying is Safe for Thin Silicon Wafers

IPA vapor dryers are especially suitable for drying thin, delicate silicon wafers. In other drying methods, the wafers are placed in a drying chamber and rotated or spun to remove the rinsing water, but handling and moving these wafers can result in damage. With the IPA vapor dryers, the Marangoni effect dries the wafers without moving them. Delicate wafers are not subjected to any stress and damage is minimized while drying performance is excellent.

IPA Vapor Dryers Improve Wafer Processing After HF Last Etching

As the final process in a silicon wafer fabrication step, the silicon oxide layer on the wafer has to be removed with hydrofluoric acid (HF) etching. The wafer is then rinsed with de-ionized water and dried before passing on to the next step in manufacturing the final semiconductor component. Providing a clean wafer with a low particle count is critical at this point because subsequent process steps are affected by the presence of contamination or particles. For high-density semiconductor components, a particle or film on the silicon wafer can prevent the correct etching of a structure or the deposit of a conductor. Because IPA vapor dryers remove water from the wafer surface and reduce particle counts with their Marangoni effect, IPA vapor dryers improve wafer processing results and ensure higher quality output.

Modutek Single Chamber Processing Delivers Further Improvements

At the end of a wet process wafer fabrication step, the wafers are etched with hydrofluoric acid in an etching chamber and then transferred to a dryer. The transfer exposes the wafers to particle contamination that can lead to elevated wafer surface particle counts, even after Marangoni drying. Modutek has eliminated this source of contamination by developing a method that allows etching and drying in a single chamber.

With the Modutek etching and drying station, hydrofluoric acid is injected into the chamber at a controlled ratio to etch the oxide layer down to the bare silicon. The wafers are then rinsed with de-ionized water to a set pH level. When the pH level is reached rinsing is complete and drying can begin.

IPA vapor is generated from a standard one-gallon bottle and introduced at the top of the drying chamber. The drying cycle takes about 10 to 15 minutes and the dry wafers are ready for their next fabrication step. The wafers are not moved during the whole etching, rinsing and drying process, reducing wafer breakage, especially for thin, delicate wafers. Since the wafers stay in the chamber from etching to drying, particle contamination is significantly reduced.

Modutek’s extensive experience in the semiconductor manufacturing industry allows it to support customers in integrating the new single chamber IPA vapor dryer in any new or existing wet processing equipment. Modutek designs and builds their own semiconductor manufacturing equipment and can therefore offer customized versions to meet the requirements of any application. The company’s staff work with a customer’s engineering team to make sure the equipment meets the customer’s process requirements. Contact Modutek for a free quote or consultation to discuss your manufacturing equipment requirements.

How Megasonic Cleaning Improves Silicon Wafer Manufacturing Results

Traditional silicon wafer cleaning uses aggressive chemicals to strip wafers and remove particles during semiconductor manufacturing. As semiconductor components such as processors, switches and memory chips become more tightly packed, removing all traces of contamination on the wafer surface becomes important for the production of high quality components and the reduction of component failure rates. Even sub micron particles can block the formation of a conducting path or a key structural component. Ensuring the removal of sub micron particles with traditional cleaning and rinsing has become challenging. Megasonic cleaning can remove even the tiniest particles from silicon wafers and improve process reliability.

How Megasonic Cleaning Works

Cleaning parts with megasonic sound waves in a cleaning solution is a quick and effective way of removing contamination from part surfaces. This cleaning method uses a range of high frequencies with the lower end used for less fragile pieces. The highest frequencies are used for the most delicate parts or parts with soft surfaces.

The sound waves in the cleaning solution create microscopic cavitation bubbles in the wave pressure troughs and the bubbles collapse in the wave peaks. When a bubble collapses, it emits a tiny but energetic jet of cleaning solution that dislodges contaminants and particles from part surfaces. Lower frequencies create comparatively large bubbles with stronger jets while the higher frequencies produce cleaning action with smaller bubbles and lower jet energy.

Because semiconductor components often include very delicate structures and soft layers of deposits on the silicon, only the highest frequencies deliver cleaning gentle enough to avoid structural damage and pitting. Megasonic cleaning takes place with frequencies around the 1 MHz level and higher and delivers effective cleaning without damage. The cleaning method is especially good at dislodging and removing particles as small as 0.1 microns with tiny bubbles breaking the particle’s adhesion to the underlying silicon wafer.

Modutek’s Megasonic Cleaning Solution

Modutek has partnered with Kaijo Shibuya Corporation, a world leader in Megasonic and ultrasonic cleaning technology, to create a line of Megasonic cleaning equipment suitable for use in semiconductor manufacturing. Megasonic cleaning systems can either be turn-key and integrated in fully automated wet bench station, or supplied as individual Megasonic generators and transducers.

Turnkey systems include the cleaning tank with the transducers already mounted while individual components can be integrated in existing semiconductor manufacturing lines. Equipment such as the Spot Shower, Mega Puck and Mega Tube allow operators to direct the Megasonic cleaning action to specific areas in the cleaning tank or on the surfaces of the silicon wafers. Megasonic cleaning reduces sub micron particle counts and can help produce better manufacturing results.

Modutek Megasonic Cleaning Features and Benefits

Systems using high frequency sound waves to clean silicon wafers have to be able to function at several frequencies, depending on the fragility of the parts to be cleaned. At the selected frequency, the megasonic transducers have to deliver enough power to fill the cleaning tank with sound waves, ensuring equal and consistent cleaning without dead spots. Ideally the bath and the transducers should be able to operate at elevated temperatures because some semiconductor manufacturing processes may use heated baths.

Modutek’s Megasonic cleaning systems operate at 950 kHz but frequencies between 200 kHz and 2 MHz are also available. High efficiency generators and full-power transducers deliver up to 1200 W of cleaning power and the systems can operate with bath temperatures of up to 140 degrees centigrade. These features deliver unparalleled cleaning performance without pitting or damage to silicon micro structures. The superior removal rate for particles down to 0.1 microns increases semiconductor component yields, reduces the number of defective components and improves product quality. For a free consultation or quote contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].

How Quartz Tube Stations Work and the Benefits They Provide

Among the many processing steps involved in the manufacture of semiconductor components are high-temperature operations such as diffusion of materials into the silicon wafers. Quartz tubes are an ideal vessel for these process steps because the tubes can withstand the temperatures required and are inert enough to minimize contamination.

Typically, the silicon wafers are placed into a horizontal quartz tube large enough to hold the wafers and their supports. The quartz tube cleaning station can heat the contents up to over 1000 degrees centigrade. In a diffusion process, impurities such as phosphorus are introduced into the quartz tube.

Once the process is complete, the quartz tube is contaminated and has to be cleaned for the next batch of wafers. Complete and reliable cleaning is essential for the semiconductor manufacturing process because contaminating particles can cause defects in the semiconductor components or result in inferior product quality.

How Quartz Tube Cleaning Works

Quartz tube cleaning is a custom-designed process because the dimensions and cleaning requirements of quartz tube furnaces can vary widely. Quartz tubes are mechanically delicate, so they have to be handled with care. At the same time the cleanliness requirements are rigorous so that all traces of the contaminating material have to be removed. Finally, the rinsing and drying process must not introduce any new particles into the quartz tube. The cleanliness of the tube directly impacts the performance of the semiconductor manufacturing facility.

In horizontal quartz tube cleaning stations, the tube is inserted into the cleaning enclosure and cleaned with an acid spray. The acid dissolves and removes the contaminant from the high-temperature furnace. A subsequent rinse cycle removes all traces of the acid from the tube surfaces. A drying cycle can speed up drying without introducing particles into the cleaning enclosure. Mechanical handling of the tubes reduces the possibility of breakage due to human error and minimizes opportunities for the entry of contaminating particles. Safety interlocks, exhaust fans and safety shields protect operators from the hazardous chemicals.

Modutek’s Quartz Tube Stations Offer Numerous Benefits

A key factor in effective customization of quartz tube cleaning stations is that the supplier has to design and build the stations so that they can make the required adjustments. Modutek designs and builds all process, etching and cleaning components in house at the company’s San Jose, California facility. Equipment is customized exactly according to the requirements of the specific application.

In addition to providing customized equipment, Modutek can supply the degree of automation required by the customer. Cleaning process steps can be initiated manually or the whole cycle can be completely automated. Different steps can initially be run and timed manually and then, when optimum performance is reached, automated operation can be locked in.

Full automation reduces human error and keeps operators safe by allowing them to monitor the cleaning process remotely. Automated quartz tube cleaning stations will run the same cleaning job exactly the same way, with identical timing and dosages. Results from an automated system are predictable and uniform and the system can be programmed for the best possible results.

Modutek’s horizontal quartz tube cleaning stations are an excellent solution for semiconductor manufacturers. Rugged and reliable with one-piece construction up to ten feet long, the basic units offer many options for additional features. Once the requirements of the cleaning application are satisfied, Modutek can offer design add-ons such as holding tanks, automation features, a T/C sheath cleaner or a bottle washer. Modutek is a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer that provides continuous product innovations and improvements along with the highest degree of customer service and support.

Reviewed and Approved by Douglas Wagner
President & CEO, Modutek Corporation

How the IPA Vapor Dryer Improves Wafer Processing Results

how-the-ipa-vapor-dryer-improves-wafer-processing-results

Not every advancement in semiconductor fabrication produces results that are usable in industry. To be of value, advancements need to be consistently repeatable when used on an industrial scale. Modutek’s IPA vapor dryer falls into this category, helping semiconductor fabricators improve both yields and processing times.

Modutek’s IPA vapor dryers are custom-engineered with in-house experts working in partnership with a client’s technical staff. From a thorough understanding of a client’s manufacturing process, Modutek works to make sure their equipment is designed and tested to meet the requirements.

The Marangoni IPA Vapor Dryer Design

Silicon wafers require cleaning, rinsing and drying at certain stages of the fabrication process. The results need to be as close to perfection as possible, with no watermarks, and minimal particle contamination. In the past, these results were obtained through rapid spinning and heat drying. These simple methods no longer work with the latest high-density wafers, however. Not only is water hard to remove from complex shapes, drying without leaving watermarks is impossible.

Contamination from incorrect cleaning and drying can cause serious product malfunction and high failure rates. This is where drying by isopropyl alcohol comes into play. IPA drying by the vapor method, delivers wafers that are completely free of watermarks and with minimal contamination. Modutek’s IPA vapor drying system is both cost-effective, and ready for seamless integration into the standard wet bench process or free-standing design.

How the IPA Vapor Dryer Design Works

Modutek’s IPA vapor dryer design is unique in a number of ways. This design delivers high-quality results through serving IPA vapor at the upper reaches of the drying tank. This makes sure that vapor distribution is even. Since the surface tension of isopropyl alcohol is lower than that of water, such vapor serving introduces a gradient of surface tension where isopropyl alcohol meets with a layer of water on the wafer surface. With this type of drying effect, water quickly leaves the wafer surface, and leaves it completely dry and clean. Since the water does not actually evaporate, it leaves the watermarks behind. The drying process takes no longer than 15 minutes.

The Advantages of Modutek’s IPA Vapor Dryer

Modutek’s in house experts in IPA vapor dryer design work together with a clients’ technical team to design and create IPA dryers that specifically meet their application requirements. Clients are able to come to Modutek’s facility for testing to make sure that their equipment works as expected.

With extensive experience in the wafer processing industry, Modutek is fully able to provide top-notch equipment and customer support at every stage of the design process, during delivery and after the sale. With expertise in semiconductor processing equipment, Modutek is able to address every specific client need for this industry. Contact Modutek for free consultation on the equipment needed for your specific wafer manufacturing process.

 

 

 

Improving Wafer Processing with Automated Equipment

Fully and semi-automated wafer processing equipment can help improve wafer output quality by providing consistent chemical processing dosages and timing, however these settings must be first be determined. One way to find optimal process settings is to operate in manual and then in semi-automated mode where settings can easily be adjusted. This is especially true of new process development where the exact parameters are not known. Wafer fabrication facilities can first try out initial settings in manual mode and tweak or “fine tune” them to obtain the desired output. Using semi-automated stations to run the parts of the process that are finalized while making additional adjustments gives optimal results. These can then be made permanent in a fully automatic station.

Steps for Improving the Fabrication Process

Although the overall process is known and the chemicals to be used are set, a new fabrication process may initially not work as desired. Perhaps the etching is not at the expected speed, or the results are not consistently reliable. While the effects of changing chemical concentrations and timing for bath exposure are known, the optimum variables for the specific process have to be found.

After an initial run, the problem areas can be identified and variables such as chemical dosages and timing can be adjusted. Skilled and experienced operators can carry out the fabrication steps and make changes easily on a manual station. In manual mode, the operator is completely in control and nothing happens unless the operator initiates the action. Such control can be important when determining initial settings for a new process.

Once the major parts of the new process work as expected, there may still be minor adjustments necessary to achieve targets such as faster processing, better quality output or reduced chemical use. For such adjustments, use of a semi-automated station saves time. Instead of carrying out all the steps manually, the semi-automated station can run the parts of the process that don’t need adjusting. These parts will run reliably without operator intervention, as programmed and without deviation from the correct set points. The operator can then focus on the final adjustments to optimize and then utilize fully automated wafer process equipment

Subsequent Tailor Made Full Automation

Once the parameters and variables for the desired yield and performance have been determined, a tailor-made software and automation package can be assembled. This package, in a fully automated station, reproduces the custom settings of the manual and semi-automated process steps and uses them to consistently produce the desired results. Carrying out the fine tuning of the process on manual and semi-automated stations first allows the fully automated station with the optimized settings to scale up to full production right away. The tailor-made solution for a specific new process can immediately produce the desired yields and process characteristics.

For semiconductor fabrication facilities that often bring online new processes, using manual and semi-automated stations to fine tune the process and develop a tailor-made solution can be an attractive alternative to optimization on a fully automated station. Full automation is still desirable for production runs because of the greater reliability, accuracy and reproducibility that such stations deliver. Once the optimized software and automation package is running production on a fully automated station, the station will produce consistently high-quality output, high yields, low defect rates and use chemicals efficiently.

Modutek can work closely with each customer to determine the best way of optimizing new processes. The company’s full line of wafer processing equipment including manual, semi-automated and fully automated wet bench stations lends itself to this kind of optimization to produce ideal outcomes. Wafer fabrication facilities that consistently optimize new processes can lower overall costs and improve facility performance. Contact Modutek for a free quote or consultation on selecting the right equipment to support your manufacturing process requirements.