Global demand for semiconductors is at an all-time high and Edwards’ customers are focused on maximising output to meet demand and to get a good return on sustainable investment.
Edwards understands the need to maximise EUV uptime and throughput and are uniquely positioned, with more than 20 years of vacuum and abatement data and performance analytics, to help its customers achieve their productivity and sustainability targets.
Supported by state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities and global service infrastructure, Edwards offers the total EUV solution whilst also creating environmental and social value not only for its customers but for all involved stakeholders.
David Engerran explores what the challenges are in EUV HVM and how Edwards is solving them.
As we know Semiconductor manufacture takes several months, with wafers passing through numerous process tools.
The most advanced, and one of the most strategic, potential bottlenecks in every Fab, are the lithography tools. Even more so now, as to make the most advanced semiconductors, EUV is required. Extreme Ultra-Violet lithography allows manufacturers to continue the reduction of feature and device sizes, that has defined progress in semiconductor manufacturing from its earliest days.
The overall throughput of the system is essentially fixed, so efforts to ensure ROI must focus on maximizing system availability, minimizing operating costs and reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes.
Understanding the process challenge from a vacuum and abatement perspective is one key aspect in maximising tool availability. Shorter wavelength EUV illumination enables the creation of smaller features, but also makes the lithography system much more complex. EUV light is strongly absorbed by any matter and requires the use of precision reflective optics and vacuum containment of the entire beam path.
To ensure these critical optics remain free from contaminants, hydrogen is used in the EUV process to react with processes materials and remove them from the process tool and carry them to the vacuum system. It is now here that vacuum and abatement systems are required to manage these high flows of hydrogen, in a safe and effective manner.
The art of innovation lies in finding ways to ensure the safety of Fab personnel, the surrounding community, and the environment, while also enhancing efficiency and reducing operating costs.
EUV uses a significant amount of hydrogen which creates a high focus on safety and the environment due to its flammable nature in air. Edwards EUV systems use vacuum pumps designed specifically for EUV process, incorporated traps to capture reacted compounds. Entire system includes safety sensors to ensure no flammable mixture is present through the system. Traditionally use of fuel fired abatement systems have been used to burn the hydrogen downstream of the vacuum pumps, however this method requires significant energy and resources and requires ongoing maintenance.
Our new fuel-free approach moves away from fuel fired abatement and offers a safe dilution of the hydrogen to levels significantly below the flammable range. This, whilst ensuring safety at all times, and vastly reducing energy requirements.
Fortunately, hydrogen itself has no negative environmental impact. Once its concentration is below the minimum flammability level, it is quite safe. Fuel-free hydrogen management relies on a keen understanding of flammability levels, dilution technologies and industry safety standards. The critical operation is the dilution of hydrogen with air, a counterintuitive approach. However, by keeping the critical path, where the mixture is flammable, very short and carefully monitored, the gas is quickly diluted to non-flammable concentrations that can be safely conveyed through the Fab and released directly into the atmosphere.
Fuel-free hydrogen management eliminates the fuel cost and carbon emissions of controlled burning and the high cost of nitrogen for dilution. Supported by state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities & global service infrastructure, Edwards offers the total EUV solution, whilst also ensuring to create environmental and social value, not only for its customers but for all involved stakeholders.
Supported by state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities and global service infrastructure, Edwards offers the total EUV solution whilst also creating environmental and social value, not only for its customers but for all stakeholders.
Global Product Manager
Integrated Systems at Edwards