New Device for the Collection, and Elemental Identification of Sub-50-nm Particles in UPW

By David Blackford, Ph.D., Art Ackermann, P.E.,Glen Wildermuth, P.E., and Sarah Schoen, Ph.D.


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To successfully manufacture semiconductor devices, particles contaminating ultrapure water (UPW*) must be controlled and the elements within the particles identified. Current guidelines suggest that these particles should be smaller than one half of the line-width of the device geometry, yet the available optical particle counters (OPC) can only measure particles >40 nanometers (nm). At one half of line width, the 65-nm semiconductor devices now in production would need to be able to detect particles <32.5 nm, a size below the current detection limit of OPCs. In addition, the ability to identify elements within a particle <100 nm is impossible with current technology. Semiconductor manufacturers therefore do not have critical measurement tools to control waterborne particles. This article will introduce a new metrology device intended to identify contaminant elements in particles <50 nm. The device uses an agglomeration technique to モcreateヤ particles that are large enough for elemental analysis with a commonly used X-ray diffraction technique.

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