Warrington, PA-based Tiger Optics LLC has unveiled the LaserTrace 3xTM analyzer for advanced chipmakers requiring heightened monitoring of moisture, a contaminant, and source of oxygen that interferes with deposition processes.

The new moisture analyzer permits process engineers to simultaneously monitor as many as four process chambers at pressures below 50 torr. The LaserTrace 3X is also operated by a single electronic module, saving both money and precious space in the cleanroom environment.

This electronics module is designed to control up to four of the device’s sensors, so that multiple process chambers and the transfer chamber of a single tool or process chambers of two different tools can be remotely monitored and controlled.

In the past, the process chamber was heated to a point that any residual moisture would ‘bake off’. But, newer chip designs (~28nm and below) cannot withstand repeated heating and cooling. The stress and strain can cause very slight warping to such narrow line widths, negatively impacting yield. To minimize this hazard, process engineers set thermal budgets for each process step.

As a result, to avoid molecular contamination, techniques such as low-temperature epitaxy and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition require diligent monitoring not only of the transfer chambers, but the incoming process gas and the chamber exhausts.

The sensors of a LaserTrace 3x can be tied into the process chambers to monitor moisture levels down to 1 ppb in a purge gas (such as N2, H2, or HCl) at pressures of less than 50 torr. The required valve switching can be automated via the ‘recipe’ of the process tool to ensure that the moisture levels have reached a safe, pre-determined threshold before wafer manufacturing resumes.

In addition, the LaserTrace 3x encompasses Tiger’s latest advances, with a detection limit of 100 parts- per-trillion in pressurized applications and accelerated response time.