Membrane Processes For Water Treatment In The Semiconductor Industry

Source: 3M Separation and Purification Sciences Division

By Rolf Nagel, Dipl-Ing
and Thomas Will, Dipl.-Ing.
Hager + Elsässer GmbH

It is the aim of high-purity water production to either fully eliminate organic and inorganic compounds, particles, and microorganisms from the water or to reduce their concentrations to values below the detection limits of the most advanced analysis methods. Currently, this problem is solved by means of multi-stage process chain, in which membrane technology plays a special role at several points. With the introduction of the 0.25 micron (µm) and 0.18 µm wafer technology, the requirements for the high-purity water treatment plants with regard to the specification as well as flexibility, safety and lead time will be even higher.

Product cycle times in the microelectronics industry are approximately 2 years. This requires an increasing demand on the high-purity water quality. Table A shows how high-purity water specifications have developed over the past decades as the structure of integrated circuits have changed.

Large quantities of high-purity water are required for wafer production; the demand of high-purity water even increases with the wafer size. For instance, the production of a 200-millimeter (mm) wafer with a 16 MB DRAM needs 4 to 5 cubic meters (m3) of high purity water. Therefore, state-of-the-art wafer fabs commonly consume 100 to 300 m3 of high-purity water per hour....

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