AMC Clean-room Monitoring
Airborne molecular contamination (AMC) is a concern for high-tech manufacturing processes, especially in the microelectronics industry and the production of semiconductors. Organic contamination can cause adverse effects on production tools and consequently increase costs. Contamination-free manufacturing is a viable goal and is achieved by source control and source monitoring in combination with filtration solutions in air handling systems and at the tool-level. Permanent monitoring of the AMC level helps to identify sources, stabilizes production and prevents unexpected shortfalls of the service life of filtration units.
IONICON, with its ultra-sensitive real-time trace gas monitoring solutions, provides powerful tools to detect organic contamination and to continuously monitor clean-room environments as well as the production tools.
Results of PTR-MS measurements - clean room environment testing
PTR-MS has the ability to continuously monitor for AMC with real-time detection limits as low as 1 pptv.
The level of AMC contamination in cleanroom environments is predominately created by internal sources such as spills or leaks of solvents, acetic acid, re-entrainment of exhaust air, aromatic compounds from ambient air and return air as well as material outgassings or even the FOUPs that are used for wafer transport. Organic contamination can cause substantial costs in terms of wafer damage or loss and tool down-time.
PTR-MS can monitor production-critical compounds like phosphates, phthalates and other VOCs. Incidents that can cause production failures and yield losses, can immediately be detected online. Corrective actions can be taken to optimize the processes.
The AMC-Monitor 1000 series is the first on-line and real-time equipment capable to monitor various organic constituents in parallel in gas and air.
The AMC-Monitor C-1000 based on a PTR-QMS 300 instrument has established a new standard in the detection of dynamic contamination levels in process environments, developed together with our partner artemis control AG. It was a breakthrough in online monitoring of clean-room air in the fab and ideally suited for a limited number of substances to be detected with a quadrupole analyzer.
Now the new AMC-Monitor T-1000 is available, based on the IONICON PTR-TOFMS series featuring advanced time-of-flight technology. The latest generation of the real-time analyzer monitors most volatile organic and several inorganic compiunds in parallel with a pptv-level detection limit. The T-1000 outperforms quadrupole based analyzers and offers the following unique benefits:
- detection of entire range of relevant substances in split-seconds - no selection of masses - no waiting
- faster and more sensitive for complex mixtures
- high mass resolution for better separation and identification
- pptv-level detection limits
24/7 real-time monitoring allows the detection of short-term spills and leckages to track and document AMC levels and to rapidly alert upon critical concentrations. The high sampling frequency also fosters monitoring multiple sampling points in parallel through optional multiplexing systems. This enables the parallel monitoring of clean-room environment, but also the FOUP or tool-level which plays an important role in present semiconductor production processes.