Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated with additional information and reposted in April 2023.
The SC1 clean process is a widely used method for removing particles and other contaminants from silicon wafers. This process involves using a solution of ammonium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide, which is heated to a specific temperature and then used to clean the wafers. In this article, we will discuss what the SC1 clean process is, its benefits and advantages, and how it is supported in Modutek’s wet bench equipment.
What is the SC1 Clean Process?
SC1 Clean is the first step in the RCA clean, the procedure required before the high-temperature processing of silicon wafers. Organic impurities attached to silicon, oxide, and quartz surfaces by the solvating and oxidizing actions of NH4OH and H2O2 respectively are eliminated by the particle-removing solution, SC1 Clean. This solution starts a slow regeneration process whereby the silicon wafer’s original surface layer of oxide is broken down and replaced with a new layer. This regeneration process is a highly significant part of particle removal.
SC1 solution is used at 75 or 80°C for approximately 10 minutes. It is composed of:
- 5 parts deionized water
- 1-part NH4OH
- 1-part H2O2
The cleaning procedure begins by heating a mixture of deionized water and NH4OH up to 75°C. Then H2O2 is added and the mixture is allowed to bubble violently before use. The silicon wafer is then soaked in the solution for 15 minutes. After this time the silicon wafer is rinsed in a container of deionized water to clean off the solution. The water is changed several times in order to prevent any removed residue from clinging back on to the surface of the silicon wafer. With the new oxide layer on the surface comes ionic contamination that should be cleaned off in the next steps of RCA Clean.
Benefits and Advantages of the SC1 Clean Process
The SC1 clean process offers several benefits and advantages for semiconductor manufacturers. It provides an efficient method for removing particles and other contaminants from wafers. This can result in improved yields, reduced defect rates, and higher product quality. Additionally, the SC1 clean process is highly repeatable, allowing manufacturers to achieve consistent cleaning results across multiple batches of wafers.
Another advantage of the SC1 clean process is that it is environmentally friendly. The process uses only a small amount of chemicals, which are relatively safe and easy to handle. Additionally, the chemicals used in the SC1 clean process are readily available and relatively low cost, which can result in significant cost savings for manufacturers.
Support for SC1 Clean Process in Modutek’s Wet Bench Equipment
Modutek’s wet bench equipment is designed to support the SC1 clean process and other standard clean processes used in the semiconductor industry. The company’s wet bench equipment is designed to provide precise control over the temperature, concentration, and flow rate of the SC1 clean solution, ensuring optimal cleaning results.
Wet bench equipment from Modutek is also designed to provide maximum process flexibility, allowing users to customize the SC1 clean process to meet their specific cleaning needs. This can include adjusting the cleaning time, temperature, and concentration of the SC1 clean solution to achieve the desired cleaning results.
Overall, the SC1 clean process is an efficient and effective method for removing particles and other contaminants from silicon wafers. With its numerous benefits and advantages, including improved yields, reduced defect rates, and higher product quality, the SC1 clean process is an ideal choice for semiconductor manufacturers looking to improve their manufacturing processes. With Modutek’s wet bench equipment, users can be confident in achieving optimal cleaning results while maintaining maximum process flexibility.
Using Megasonic Cleaning with SC1 Clean
The use of megasonic cleaning is often used with the SC1 cleaning process to improve results. Modutek’s partnership with Kaijo Corporation provides cutting-edge high precision megasonic cleaning technology. Megasonic cleaning can remove particles as small as 0.1 µm with Modutek’s Indirect (MSI Series) bath design. Another option is to use Modutek’s Direct (MSD Series) with the Teflon coated Megasonic transducer. When placed in the cleaning tank, the transducer plate is ideal for using SC1 Clean and is easily accessible for installation and upgrades.
Modutek’s Megasonic cleaning features include:
- Automatic frequency tracking system
- High-efficiency generator
- Upper and lower limit controls
- Available frequencies: 430kHz and 950kHz
Modutek’s Experience and Expertise
Modutek has been in the business of designing and supplying wet process equipment for over 40 years. This history is sustained by experts who will work with you from design to final equipment installation. Contact Modutek for a free consultation to discuss your process requirements.