Aerosol Particle Monitoring Inside of Semiconductor Process Tools

Aerosol Particle Monitoring Inside of Semiconductor Process Tools


Contamination poses a significant threat to semiconductor manufacturing processes, impacting yield and revenue. This blog explores the pivotal role of real-time aerosol particle monitoring in semiconductor manufacturing, specifically focusing on the innovative solution provided by Particle Measuring Systems’ Airnet® II 201-4 portable aerosol particle counter, in contamination control with a link to 2 case studies.

The Challenge of Particle Contamination

The semiconductor manufacturing process involves critical steps susceptible to contamination, such as film deposition, photolithography, etching, and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP). Contaminants, especially particles, can lead to yield loss and revenue decline.

Current Particle Monitoring Methodology

Traditional methods involve inspecting control wafers before and after processes, a time-consuming and labor-intensive approach. Out-of-spec particle counts trigger the need for cleaning and servicing process tools.

Real-Time Aerosol Particle Monitoring

This paper discusses the advantages and challenges of real-time aerosol particle monitoring inside semiconductor process tools. It emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between monitoring coverage, equipment uptime, operating costs, and yield.

Proposal of Inline Aerosol Particle Monitor – Airnet II 201-4

Particle Measuring Systems introduces the Airnet® II 201-4 portable aerosol particle counter as a solution to historical constraints in using inline particle counters for monitoring process tools. The key features of this instrument are outlined, including its size, sample flow rate, and real-time monitoring capabilities.

Case Studies

Two successful use cases of implementing the device’s particle sensors in Tier 1 semiconductor foundries are presented in this paper.

  • Use Case I: Photolithography Track Tool: Discusses how the Airnet® II 201-4 particle counter effectively monitored particle levels during track operation, enabling users to identify and address excursions in real-time.
  • Use Case II: CMP Tape Laminator: Highlights the Airnet® II 201-4 portable aerosol particle counter’s role in monitoring particle contamination caused by a malfunctioning exhaust in the tape laminator.

Want to learn more?

Read the full paper here




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