Ensuring Purity and Safety
Purity requirements continue to tighten as the semiconductor manufacturers continue to pursue advanced technology nodes. Of all the industries that rely on a consistent supply of both raw and specialty chemical, the semiconductor industry sets the highest bar.
The challenges chemical suppliers and fab managers face to ensure clean and safe chemical delivery is ever increasing because purity requirements for advanced node technologies have reached parts-per-billion (PPB) and parts per trillion (PPT) levels where the opportunity for contamination exists at many points along the products’ journey. The possibility of picking up sub-100 nm particles or metallic contamination occurs during manufacturing, storage, or delivery to the end customer. Surprisingly, the chemical interaction with high-density polyethylene (HSPE) material used to make storage and transportation drums, or the connection system, is the most common cause of contamination and can result in the chemistry purity dropping from PPB to part per million (PPM) levels.
Like purity, safe delivery is a major concern for chemical suppliers. Ensuring the safe transport and delivery of process chemicals to the semiconductor sub-fab is critical. Just as with purity, there are many points along the chemical products’ journey that could trigger a potential catastrophic situation.
Not all containment system components are created equal, and choosing a system based solely on price could add to the overall cost for suppliers and semiconductor manufacturers alike. Because drums, IBCs, and connection systems are used by a variety of industries, all with varying specifications, it is important to seek out those designed specifically for semiconductor process chemistries.
A couple things to think about are transportation, resin selection, and design. During transport, drums can be subject to harsh conditions, including vibrations that will test the integrity of the drum’s seal and the chemicals slosh inside it. How the drum’s seal, and how they connect with a dispense head are critical for leak and spillage protections.
Structurally, drums designed with a tall outer portion – or chime – that is higher than any of the ports are preferred over shorter chimes since drums are stacked, the tall outer chime absorbs the load of the drums on top of it, mitigating risk.
Also, resin selection is critical to the drum’s purity level and length of service. Selecting a resin with proper stabilizers and the right amount of those stabilizers will positively affect chemistry purity as well as drum safety during its service period. To properly understand resin properties, it is important for drum manufacturers to partner with materials science experts.
To ensure a consistent chemistry supply that meets the high-purity requirements of the semiconductor industry, it is most effective and efficient for a chemical manufacturer to partner with a container supplier that can provide an end-to-end chemical handling, transport, and delivery system that meets regulatory requirements for both purity and safety. This provides a total solution that maintains chemical integrity when shipped to the customer.
Learn more: Choosing the Right Chemical Container