Tiger Optics LLC has introduced the LaserTrace 3xTM analyser for advanced chipmakers requiring heightened monitoring of moisture, a contaminant, and source of oxygen that interferes with deposition processes.

The new moisture analyser permits process engineers to simultaneously monitor as many as four process chambers at pressures below 50 torr.

Operated by a single electronic module, the LaserTrace 3x is an exceptionally efficient device that also saves both money and precious space in the cleanroom environment.

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 and the stress and strain of this can cause slight warping to such narrow line widths – negatively impacting yield.

To minimise that 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 vapour 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 (N2, H2, or HCl) at pressures of less than 50 torr.

The electronics module of the LaserTrace 3x is designed to control up to four of these 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. 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 Optics’ latest advances, with a detection limit of 100 parts-per-trillion in pressurised applications and accelerated response time.