Semiconductor Cleaning Automation

The Situation

Wet cleaning is one of the few remaining batch processes in the modern fab. Nearly all other process steps have transitioned to single wafer processes. The challenges in developing a single wafer cleaning process are substantial as new low-K materials and small, delicate structures at the 65 nm technology node are extremely sensitive to cleaning induced damage.

The Challenge

Our client had spent years perfecting a single wafer cleaning process. The cleaning chamber was the heart of their new technology. They needed a system and wafer handling architecture that would make the most of this chamber and deliver outstanding throughput in as small a footprint as possible.

The Solution

Owens Design’s first task was to examine multiple architectures to determine which would provide the best performance/cost ratio. Working closely with several automation suppliers, Owens Design simulated actual performance to determine the best architecture and automation component combination. Owens Design then developed the overall system layout in conjunction with our client’s process engineers. Owens Design also developed the custom wafer handling mechanism that handed off to the cleaning chamber along with the system frame, incoming power and facilities, and integration of the wafer handling components.

The product was successfully introduced to the market and was awarded a prestigious “Top Ten” product of the year by the semiconductor industry’s leading trade group.