Innovating in the field of electronics, Matheson Tri-Gas Electronics has recently introduced its patented PICO-TRAP Ultra-Purification System, for removing volatile metal impurities and moisture from critical process gases used by semiconductor manufacturers.

The newly revealed PICO-TRAP System combines the principles of chemisorption and physisorption to achieve levels of process gas purity unmatched by conventional purification technologies.

PICO-TRAP incorporates Matheson Tri-Gas Electronics’ custom-engineered cryogenic, fully-regenerable purification column to ‘deliver one of the most impurity-free process gases available today’, the company suggests.

The system, which is one of eight finalists for SEMI’s ‘Best of West’ awards to be announced during next week’s SEMICON West trade show, enables microelectronics manufacturers to minimise impurities that interfere with process stability, which is critical to mass producing reliable electronic devices.

Semiconductor manufacturers are constantly striving to boost throughput, increase yields and lower defect densities at every process step, most of which involve the use of high purity gases. The PICO-TRAP System is capable of delivering such results by removing moisture down to low detectable limits, such as less than 20 PPB in hydrogen chloride (HCl) – a level that has not been achieved using standard purifiers.

“Our new PICO-TRAP Ultra-Purification System gives chipmakers access to the most effective gas purification processes available to support their migration to the next generation of semiconductor technology,” said Terry Francis, Chief Technologist for Matheson Tri-Gas Electronics.

The extreme level of purification from the system is attained even with high impurity challenges of 25 PPM moisture or more when the source runs to a cylinder dry condition. The system, the company notes, also removes volatile metals including iron (Fe), molybdenum (Mo), chromium (Cr), titanium (Ti), nickel (Ni) and manganese (Mn), which inherently affect yield and defect densities in key fabrication processes.

In recent studies by Matheson Tri-Gas Electronics researchers, the PICO-TRAP System demonstrated that silicon-epitaxial operations at both high and low temperatures were enhanced by purifying hydrogen chloride etchant gas.

The PICO-TRAP System will be on display at SEMICON West 2008 in San Francisco and follows the April announcement that the company has entered into a four year agreement with IBM Corp. to jointly develop new manufacturing materials and processes, that will enable the next generation of semiconductor technology for 32nm and beyond.