December 5, 2007 – TDK has developed a way to quickly expunge air inside 300mm wafer front-opening unified pods (FOUPs) when entering or leaving cleanrooms, which otherwise can oxidize and damage wafers and lower yields, notes the Nikkei Business Daily.
The new technology jets inert nitrogen gas from the side of the FOUP for about 2min to drive out oxygen and residual gases from inside the case, lowering the oxygen content to ~13%. The nitrogen gas is then blown from a nozzle above the FOUP and carried to the sides for another 2min to further reduce oxygen concentration to 2%, and the FOUP case is sealed, the paper explains.
TDK plans to incorporate this new FOUP-cleaning technology in its wafer load ports starting in April, and hopes to ship 100 of the units in the first year. The company, which holds >50% marketshare, wants to increase its output by 25% to 1000 units/month over the next three years, the paper noted.