Today’s semiconductor industry drives the electronics business. Recently cyclical, knowledgeable observers expect the semiconductor growth to continue with increased demand from the entire electronics value chain: computers and peripheral devices, consumer electronics, telecommunications, industrial electronics, defense, space and transportation. The industry remains volatile and must adapt at a rapid pace.
Panametrics Solutions for Semiconductor
The semiconductor industry works with a high degree of water purity to be utilized in high-grade clean rooms, as well as high-purity gases and other chemicals for cleaning, etching, plating and planarization processes. Flow measurements within these high-purity processes must be maintained while delivering valuable outputs to run the process at its highest efficiency and availability for 24/7 operations.
Panametrics clamp-on ultrasonics flow meters are installed in semiconductor plants for:
- Raw water, cooling water, chiller water, washing water, demineralized water, deionized water, wastewater from 15mm to 600mm (1/2” to 24”)
- Utility gases: air, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide from 15mm to 300mm (1/2” to 12”)
Oxygen and Moisture measurement
The semiconductor process requires high purity gases and other chemicals for the cleaning, purging, etching, plating and planarization processes. Any moisture and oxygen contaminants in these gases, even at the parts-per-billion (ppb) level, can be detrimental to the process yield and to product quality. Reliable and repeatable measurement and control of these contaminants is critical.
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Research has proven that precise control of the oxygen content and reliable, contamination free flow measurement on ultrapure water, utility water and gas, as well as raw water and wastewater are required for chips and other electronics components manufactured in clean rooms down to class 1.
The process of water purification moves through a number of stages. While electromagnetic flowmeters can measure the amount and quality of raw water, once the water is demineralized and deionized, conductivity becomes too low. Chemical compounds on smaller lines with have lower flows. Although the precise details and quantities are not measurable, these compounds can include acetone, trichloroethylene and isopropyl alcohol, among others, most of which could cause safety hazards and therefore must be leak-free.
All gases feed industrial manufacturing plants with nitrogen, oxygen, argon, hydrogen, helium, carbon dioxide and air to enable manufacturing. Nitrogen, oxygen, argon, hydrogen and helium typically are typically employed as purge gases in the semiconductor fabrication process. These gases must be of the highest purity as even parts-per-billion (ppb) levels of contaminants, such as moisture and oxygen, can negatively impact process yield and product quality.