A variety of gases are used in semiconductor manufacturing for process reactions in chemical vapor deposition, etching, ion implantation and many other processes. They are also used for such diverse purposes as chamber cleaning and purging. Generally speaking, gases are classified as processes gases for the first set of applications and bulk gases for the second. Bulk gases are hydrogen, helium and nitrogen, for example, which can be produced on-site through air separation plants. Process gases are typically supplied in the familiar gas tanks, or sometimes gas tanker trailers if the volume required is high enough. In some parts of the world, underground piping is used to supply multiple fabs

Aside for the gas type, the most common concern is the purity of the gas. Purity is often discussed in the “number of nines” level of purity. Gases that are 99.999% pure, for example, are “five nines” purity, gases that are 99.9999% pure are “six nines” purity and so on. Alternatively, trance contaminants are measured in parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb) or even parts per trillion (ppt). Higher levels of purity are, of course, more difficult to produce and are therefore more costly. They are also more difficult to measure accurately. An ongoing challenge in the semiconductor industry is that gas users — IC manufacturers — tend to specify the highest level of purity available, but it’s often unknown if that higher level of purity actually provides any kind of benefit to device performance or yield. Indeed, sometimes trace impurities have proved to have some kind of beneficial effect and removing them can actually decrease performance.

Another important aspect — some would say the most important aspect — is safety. Gases can be toxic, carcinogenic, flammable, pyrophoric, corrosive and generally hazardous. A silane leak, for example, could result in a pocket of silane in a corner of the fab, which could explode. Arsine and phosphine, commonly used in ion implantation, are deadly in ppb and ppt, respectively. Fortunately, the semiconductor industry has an excellent safety record and danger to fab personnel is minimal — as long as established safety protocols are closely followed. This include storing gas cylinders in well monitored gas cabinets.

SUPPLIERS


ARM Inc: www.arminc.com



Composites USA: http://www.compositesusa.com



CONSCI: http://www.consci.com



Critical Process System Group: http://www.cpsgrp.com



Fab-Tech, Inc.: http://www.fabtechinc.com



MoviTHERM: http://movitherm.com



SAES Pure Gas: http://www.saespuregas.com



ARTICLES



North American semiconductor equipment industry posts November 2016 book-to-bill ratio of 0.96

12/16/2016  A book-to-bill of 0.96 means that $96 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

Murphy, Choh and Pilla join ClassOne Technology's Board of Advisors

12/01/2016  ClassOne Technology, manufacturer of advanced wet processing equipment for ≤200mm substrates, announced the formation of a Board of Advisors.

Managing particle flows in process exhaust for safety and profitability

10/28/2016  Solid particles in the abatement exhaust must be properly managed, and in some cases, substantially reduced from the gas stream before it is released into the environment.

Lam Research introduces dielectric atomic layer etching capability for advanced logic

09/07/2016  Lam Research Corp., an advanced manufacturer of semiconductor equipment, today announced that it is expanding its atomic layer etching (ALE) portfolio with the addition of ALE capability on its Flex dielectric etch systems.

Cabot Microelectronics appoints Thomas F. Kelly as VP of Corporate Development

09/02/2016  Cabot Microelectronics Corporation announced the appointment of Thomas F. Kelly, Vice President, Corporate Development, which is effective as of September 6, 2016.

Lam Research enables next-generation memory with industry's first ALD process for low-fluorine tungsten fill

08/09/2016  Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX), an advanced manufacturer of semiconductor equipment, today introduced an atomic layer deposition (ALD) process for depositing low-fluorine-content tungsten films, the latest addition to its ALTUS family of products.

Nitrous oxide no laughing matter

07/13/2016  N2O, or Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a weak anesthetic gas that has been in use since the late 18th century.

Samco boosts shipment capacity with second production center

06/21/2016  Samco, a Japan-based semiconductor processing equipment manufacturer, held a completion ceremony for its second production center on June 17.

Equipment spending up: 19 new fabs and lines to start construction

06/10/2016  While semiconductor fab equipment spending is off to a slow start in 2016, it is expected to gain momentum through the end of the year. For 2016, 1.5 percent growth over 2015 is expected while 13 percent growth is forecast in 2017.

ClassOne announces major savings with Solstice gold plating

06/02/2016  ClassOne Technology, manufacturer of budget-friendly wet processing equipment, is reporting significant savings in the plating of gold in ≤200mm applications using its Solstice systems.

Busch wins annual NXP Semiconductors Best Supplier Award

05/25/2016  NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced Busch Semiconductor Vacuum Group LLC as the Best Supplier for Front-end equipment (semiconductor equipment) at NXP’s first Supplier Day Awards ceremony in Austin, Texas.

Global semiconductor sales increase slightly in March

05/06/2016  The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) this week announced worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $26.1 billion for the month of March 2016, a slight increase of 0.3 percent compared to the previous month's total of $26.0 billion.