Modutek’s advanced ozone cleaning process offers two methods that can improve silicon wafer cleaning and reduce chemical use. The main part of the process uses ozone to convert organic residue on wafers into carbon dioxide through oxidation. The wafers coming out of this process have reduced levels of particle contamination when compared to traditional cleaning methods using chemical baths. The improved cleaning performance of the patented advanced ozone cleaning process can increase facility throughput and improve semiconductor quality while reducing chemical use.
How Advanced Ozone Cleaning Works
With ozone cleaning in Modutek’s DryZone gradient dryer, wafers are first rinsed with deionized water to remove inorganic impurities before being exposed to ozone in an ozone chamber. The Coldstrip ozone cleaning method operates at sub ambient temperatures while Organostrip cleans at room temperature.
The ozone’s powerful oxidizing action converts the carbon of organic residue to carbon dioxide and leaves wafers clean and particle-free. The ozone is dissolved in either plain water or in a mild solvent solution and substrates receive a stable hydrophilic surface.. No harsh chemicals are required and the exhausts and waste products of the process are harmless.
Advantages and Benefits
The advantages of Modutek’s advanced ozone cleaning process in comparison to traditional chemical cleaning methods derive from the more compact process equipment, the absence of harsh chemicals and better cleaning performance. Benefits include lower costs, higher quality products due to lower particle counts and an environmentally-friendly cleaning process that doesn’t require compliance with onerous regulations.
Where Piranha cleaning requires as many as six processing tanks and traditional solvent cleaning five tanks, the Organostrip ozone cleaning method requires only three tanks while the Coldstrip method requires two. As a result, equipment costs and space required will be less.
One of the main issues with chemical bath cleaning is the short lifetime of the cleaning solution. The Piranha clean mixture deteriorates immediately and cleans effectively for only a few hours. Other solvents have a solution life span measured in days, after which the solution has to be replaced. Because the ozone cleaning methods do not rely on solution components that react chemically with each other, the lifetime of an ozone solution is at minimum greater than a week.
Other advantages of the ozone cleaning method are its compatibility with metal films, the absence of water stains and the low particle count. Where a typical particle count for ozone cleaning is less than 15, cleaning with Piranha solution or solvents produces particle counts in the thousands.
The resulting benefits for a semiconductor manufacturing facility can be substantial. The process costs for Coldstrip are estimated at $21,000 per year while Organostrip runs to $104,000. These amounts compare to approximately $300,000 for Piranha strip and $200,000 for other solvent methods.
In addition to saving money on process costs, the costs of chemical storage, handling and disposal must be factored in. All of these have a component for regulatory compliance that can be very costly, depending on the jurisdiction in which the facility is operating. The ozone cleaning process has no such costs.
Finally there is a key benefit to the reduced particle counts obtained with the ozone process. Subsequent diffusion and etching will result in fewer defective components and a higher quality final product. Overall, ozone cleaning allows a semiconductor manufacturing facility to improve production line performance and substantially reduce costs.
Modutek Can Help
Modutek offers the equipment for applying the patented ozone cleaning process to semiconductor manufacturing and can help in determining the ideal configuration for a particular application. The company also delivers equipment for traditional chemical bath cleaning methods and is therefore ideally placed to advise how the new ozone cleaning methods can improve production. Semiconductor manufacturers can take advantage of this capability to cut costs and increase productivity in their plant.