Avoiding Semiconductor Failures: The Expanding Role of Quartz
From raw materials to production equipment, fused quartz ware is integral to quality and productivity in the semiconductor industry.
Although world demand for semiconductors is expected to continue to increase in the future, it will always be among the most uniquely demanding and competitive industries. Among the factors affecting fabricators’ abilities to compete in this volatile market are continuous increases is product performance as well as increased manufacturing productivity.
While the range of semiconductor-dependent devices continues to widen, industry studies show that sizable semiconductor failure rates (often depending on application complexity), can quickly blunt a fabricator’s competitive edge.
Some of the avoidable stress factors effecting semiconductor reliability include process impurities, wafer sag (deformation), and high temperature failures (aside from more obvious mechanical and environmental problems).
The avoidance of these problems has led many fabricators to choose fused quartz as the material of choice for semiconductor wafer processing as well as laboratory and testing applications.
Physical properties such as hardness, chemical purity, resistance to high temperatures and corrosion, and electrical insulation make structures composed of fused quartz ideal for various industries. These include various semiconductor applications as well as fiber optic and photovoltaic (solar) cell manufacturing, UV, and laboratory ware.
“Fused quartz is one of the purest materials available, having a nominal purity of up to 99.996 percent. The purity of quartz is highly beneficial to semiconductor fabricators, since even trace amounts of impurities will be transported to silicon wafers and wreak havoc on performance, often making them unacceptable. For example, the presence of any number of impurities can alter the performance of dopants (e.g., phosphorous or arsenic), thereby interfering with semiconductor performance. Even trace amounts of alkali can reduce wafer yields.”
The exceptional purity of quartz is unsurpassed in the glass industry, and are much superior to borosilicate products, as well as the optical purity of quartz that may be equally important to many users in laboratory environments because a relatively broad range of light wavelengths to pass unimpeded through clear quartz ware, which is vital to many laboratory applications.
Another important property of quartz that relates directly to wafer processing is that its mechanical stability provides the ability of the material to withstand high temperatures. Fused quartz products can be heated to 1150 degrees C (under minimal load conditions), making quartz tubing an excellent furnace chamber for processing silicon wafers. This is significant in silicon wafer production because sag is virtually eliminated, and a longer furnace lifespan is assured. For superior performance at higher temperatures,
Momentive Type Fused Quartz furnace tubing gives process engineers a better balance between the effects of higher temperatures and heavier wafer loads.
Technical Glass offers an exceptional line of raw material and semiconductor fabrication ware, including plasma chambers, epitaxial systems, bell jars, tubing up to 400 mm, and many other items.
Fused quartz stock is available in a variety of standards that provide different properties to industry engineers. The following are examples supplied and manufactured by Momentive Technology, a world leader in manufacturing of high-purity fused quartz products:
Momentive Type 214 clear quartz tubing and rod offers minimal air lines and inclusions, and are often chosen for wafer production due to excellent dimensional stability.
Momentive Type 214 LD [large diameter] clear fused quartz tubing offers the same excellent properties as Type 214, but is used for diffusion, oxidation and LPCVD (low pressure chemical vapor deposition) processing.
Momentive Type 124 fused quartz ingot offers high purity but contains some fine bubbles. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, it is an economical product used to fabricate a variety of semiconductor quartz products.
“In many instances, in addition to product selection, semiconductor industry customers should also consider what technical services are needed. Our highly experienced quartz glass blowers offer a full range of ancillary services, including assistance with product design, applications and specifications, fabrication services, machining and assembly, and repair.”
Founded in 1990, Technical Glass Products is one of the largest Momentive Technology Authorized fabricator and distributor of fused quartz glass in the US.
TGP prides itself in offering a comprehensive raw quartz inventory, technical product assistance, and its capabilities of meeting the industry’s most stringent standards and tolerances.