Science that is transforming lives and enabling the future

Shaking Up Tradition with a Truly Fun Word (FOUP)

All Posts

Shaking Up Tradition with a Truly Fun Word (FOUP)

Beyond being one of the fun words in the semiconductor industry, the “FOUP,” front-opening-unified-pod, represented a radical change that has influenced the productivity of each fab and contributed to the capabilities our electronic devices today. At the inception of Moore’s Law in 1965, 30 mm (1.25”) diameter wafers were the standard. Leading up to the late 1990’s, seven generations of incremental increases would be introduced. At each point, manufacturing efficiencies and device performance opportunities existed to get “Moore” out of each wafer. Wafer storage and transport was primarily accomplished in open-air cassettes and pods, leaving wafers more susceptible to physical damage and contamination.

During the early days of the transition from 200 to 300 mm wafers, all aspects of wafer protection had escalated to critical concerns as chip complexity rose and fabs continued to seek process improvements. A small start-up proposed a new wafer handling approach and climbed the mountain of tasks with partners to introduce what is today the standard wafer transport solution around the world for 300 mm fabs (~120 and growing), the FOUP.

The story is best told by Gary Gallagher, senior director and “Father of the FOUP.” Much like other innovation stories, there were early adopters that proved instrumental in shaking up the traditional view from the top. There are also some twists along the way that make for another great story of how semiconductors continue to influence our lives because of the pioneers and partnerships that come with asking, “what if we ______?”.gary

Figure 1. “Father of the FOUP,” Gary Gallagher (center), as part of the original pioneers responsible for revolutionizing wafer handling technology.


Figure 2. Clint Haris, current Entegris SVP & GM
Microcontamination Control Division, as "the young
Motorola engineer" assigned to implement the first
high-volume manufactured FOUPs.


Learn more about how Entegris provides full container solutions to monitor, protect, transport, and deliver wafers from the front-end through to the back-end of the fab.


Related Posts

Reducing our Environmental Impact: How We’re Making Biopharma Manufacturing More Sustainable

Biopharma manufacturing is an essential part of the healthcare industry, producing lifesaving treatments for patients around the world. Traditional manufacturing methods can have a significant environmental impact driven by stainless steel equipment requiring extensive cleaning and sterilization processes that consume substantial amounts of water and energy in addition to cleaning agents.

Achieving the Third Dimension Through Molecular Modeling

For decades, the semiconductor device manufacturing mantra was “How do we make them smaller, cheaper, and faster?” The pursuit of Moore’s Law – the doubling of transistors on a chip every two years – was achieved through planar scaling. But that approach could only go on for so long. The mantra now is “How do we improve power, performance, area, and cost (PPAC)?” At the 14 nm node, it was clear that the best way to push the limits of semiconductor device PPAC was to take it into the third dimension.

Entegris and Agilitech: Transforming Single-Use Technologies

Entegris is delighted to announce our collaboration with Agilitech, a pioneering partner to the biotech industry. Agilitech provides highly flexible, scalable, and future-proof single-use technologies for every step of the bioprocess. These include chromatography systems, mixers, and custom-tailored bioprocess controllers that scale from the laboratory to commercial production environments. This makes them a natural fit for the unique needs of life sciences customers.