Requirements for specialty gases in semiconductor manufacturing


Precision gas delivery is at the core of semiconductor manufacturing. Many different gases – corrosives, reactives and inerts – in varying flow rates are delivered to process chambers to produce critical features on silicon wafers that are used in manufacturing logic and memory chips. These gases, collectively called electronic specialty gases (ESG), also find applications in the manufacture of solar cells and flat panels including liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). There is not only a need to deliver these gases in precise quantities and with excellent repeatability but also with stringent purity levels.

As semiconductor technology transitions to advanced nodes below 5nm, the requirements for process gas accuracy, repeatability and contamination-free gas delivery have become paramount. Some of these gases are highly corrosive and some are highly reactive. Careful consideration must be given to compatibility of these gases with wetted surfaces used for gas delivery. Also, some specialty gases such as hydrides thermally decompose at elevated temperatures, frequently necessitating component replacement, and thereby impacting cost of ownership.

In this article, we will review the types of electronic specialty gases used in semiconductor manufacturing and analyze the criteria for delivering these gases contamination-free at the wafer level. A suite of SEMI Standards addresses the purity specifications for specialty gases used in semiconductor manufacturing. SEMI also maintains a comprehensive database of all gases used in semiconductor manufacturing that is constantly updated as more and more new gases are used for advanced process nodes.

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