Process Control Through Measurement
Chemical metrology is the science of measuring precise amounts of components that make up a mixture. In the semiconductor industry, chemical metrology is critical for developing and maintaining consistent recipes for successful manufacturing processes.
For example, chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) processes use slurries of varying consistency and particle size. Chemical metrology systems are integrated into the manufacturing process flow as part of the CMP steps to enable in-line monitoring that to maintain proper concentrations of a slurry’s composition.
Kinetics’ family of inline chemical metrology tools are designed to support CMP processes in different ways, from monitoring and replenishing mixture components, to particle size and distribution analysis, to real-time concentration measurement. Together, this suite of products maintains the integrity of chemical formulations throughout the CMP process.
The Mega SA100 Automatic Titration and Replenishment System (ATRS) controls the percentage of a specific substance found in a mixture. For example, the system is often programmed to control the percentage of H2O2 found in slurry. This substance slowly decreases in the mixture over time and must be strictly monitored and replenished as necessary.
The SA200 Series Particle Analysis system (PMS 5200 and PCMB inclusive) provides stationary or portable particle size and/or distribution analysis. Systems include dilution control and flush mechanisms to maintain uptime and accuracy. Flush features can support either DI or chemical flush media. Configurations may contain a single or dual laser sensor. Stationary systems can be configured to provide output to dedicated PC or to the integrated IPC in an SBD tool.
Using infrared, refractometry, and ultrasonic techniques, the SA300 PCMB performs chemical concentration measurement in real time. These techniques are non-sample destructive, so the devices can be placed on the primary process lines of the supply, or when present return circuits of chemical process tools without harming the health or chemical character of the fluid. These in-line chemical concentration systems can also be applied on slipstreams to allow for additional economy of use through the service of multiple analysis points with a single analyzer.
Seldom in life, does ignorance lead to bliss. As you’ve probably experienced, maintaining stable and consistent process chemistry is a series of “knowing” moments that never fully resolve. As such, semiconductor processing is not only a batch-by-batch endeavor, but also one that reaches into real-time stages, steps, and outcomes.
Kinetics knows that analyzing concentrations, particle sizes, and distribution can become part of a growing list of burdens on process engineers and system operators. But when managed effectively toward positive results through in-line monitoring, it can become a competitive advantage.
Consider Kinetics’ three MEGA platforms that flow into new, upgraded, or retrofit scenarios with uptime front and center; only eclipsed by safety concerns reaching from personnel to facilities to the environment.
Each of the Kinetics’ trio, SA100, SA200, and SA300 carries its weight to fulfill discrete requirements. In fact, many production facilities enable more consistent chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) by installing several systems in multiples across a single location (as well as throughout their manufacturing locations).
The right choice begins with clarity around purpose and outcomes; one of many points at which Kinetics’ distinctive approach becomes more apparent. Ask and answer these questions to focus your evaluation of the Company’s metrology platforms with precision.
“WHAT’S THE BEST METHOD TO ISOLATE — AND CONTROL — THE PERCENTAGE OF A SPECIFIC SUBSTANCE FOUND IN A MIXTURE?” Often, controlling the percentage of H202 is the goal of a programmed system. That’s because H202 gradually decreases over time, necessitating well-paced replenishment. Only with a programmed recipe that includes monitoring and resupply does the passage of time become a consistent and positive contributor to yield requirements.
Here, MEGA SA100 Automatic Titration and Replenishment Systems (ATRS) are the proper choice, using full on-line chemical monitoring to analyze the blend with a proven reliability of 99.9% availability: Multiple streams are sampled and analyzed including raw chemical supply as insurance against batch loss, even as process knowledge is elevated.
“HOW IS PARTICLE ANALYSIS BEST ACCOMPLISHED IF WE’RE CONCERNED ABOUT PARTICLE SIZE, DISTRIBUTION, OR BOTH?” The complexity of this analysis can’t be under-rated, recognizing that dilution control and flush mechanisms are critical in maintaining uptime as well as accuracy. While single- or dual-laser deployment is merited, the automation attached to this process management stage can’t be overwhelming to operators — nor require frequent maintenance intervention.
Now the focus shifts to the MEGA SA200 Series Particle Analysis system to deliver stationary or portable particle size analysis (in tandem with distribution analysis, as warranted). In the case of stationary applications, the SA200 allows output to a dedicated PC or to the integrated IPC in an SBD tool. Batch-to-batch changes in raw material, filter performance, and long-term batch degradation, along with analyzing additional performance parameters, are the target bull’s eye for this well-regarded platform.
“WE’RE LOOKING FOR RELIABLE, EVEN REDUNDANT, CHEMICAL CONCENTRATION MEASUREMENT IN REAL TIME; WHAT’S A PLAUSIBLE APPROACH?” In this scenario, multiple techniques are advantageous, particularly when they are non-destructive to samples. A system placed on the primary supply lines or return circuits of chemical process tools should enable this level of analysis even in high-volume manufacturing settings. This is even more important if the economics suggest that a single analyzer is wise, and if it truly enables service of multiple analysis points.
The Kinetics MEGA SA300 PCMB clusters infrared, refractometry, and ultrasonic techniques in a single metrology package that can be thought of as a miniature lab in its own right. For example, the non-destructive nature of the SA300’s sampling prevents harming the health or chemical nature of the fluid when used on return circuits. And, yes, this single analyzer accomplishes — or exceeds — parity with other multiple analyzers.
In CMP, there’s no question that leading manufacturers are more prone to calculate than speculate, measure rather than estimate. The proper metrology tools are more real-time than retrospective — and more agile than anchored. Kinetics stands ready to explore the questions provoked by the desire for control, consistency, and accountability. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to advance your knowledge on the road to growing success.