July 13, 2004–BOC Edwards has established a joint development program with IMEC, Leuven, Belgium that focuses on the application of supercritical CO2 (scCO2) cleaning processes for the manufacture of next-generation semiconductor devices.
BOC Edwards has shipped an integrated supercritical CO2 processing system, including its DFP 200 high-pressure, single-wafer process module to IMEC. This supercritical CO2 technology demonstrator will be used in a three-year process development program.
The application of scCO2 for all process steps where the use of water needs to be avoided will be assessed. The program will start with the investigation of the use of scCO2 for the cleaning of advanced porous low-k materials.
“Focusing on the unique integration options afforded by supercritical CO2 with a well-respected research center like IMEC is an important step in realizing the potential of this enabling technology,” said Chris Case, BOC Edwards’ chief technology officer. “This collaboration will build from a baseline of state-of-the-art process technology, and help us to understand the range of applications where scCO2 is uniquely enabling.”
Due to the continuous shrinking of semiconductor logic device dimensions and the introduction of new materials in IC manufacturing, the use of aqueous processes will become problematic. Supercritical CO2 -based wafer processing is an emerging technology for manufacturing next-generation chips. The low viscosity and surface tension of CO2 allows for efficient cleaning of small feature sizes.