K-Patents introduces the revolutionary new Semicon Process Refractometer PR-23-SM for real-time chemical concentration monitoring throughout the whole semiconductor fabrication process, i.e. from chemical supplies down to fab in-line and tool in-situ chemical quality control. The concentration of dissolved solids is determined by making an optical measurement of the solution’s refractive index. The advantage of this principle is that the same instrument can be used to measure any chemical.
K-Patents Semicon Process Refractometer PR-23-MS provides a continuous 4-20 mA or digital measurement signal, which offers many possibilities for real-time monitoring and process control in. It is physically small and easy to install in the bulk chemicals supply and distribution, and in point of use chemical blending, mixing, dilution and spiking applications.
For example, low and high concentration alarms can be configured to prevent wrong liquids reaching the fabrication process and thus costly production problems and equipment damage can be avoided. The rationale behind this statement is that changes in chemical quality can occur during in-house handling and storage. Factors such as human error in container handling and equipment failure at the distribution point are now also accounted. The PR-23-MS activates an alarm if the chemical is not within the pre-set specifications. In some cases, the K-Patents PR-23-MS has paid for itself by preventing a single mishap.
The PR-23-MS technology also assists in various wet etch, wafer cleaning and planarization operations where it helps to increase the number of wafers pass-in, saves chemical consumption and improves environmental performance of chemicals waste management. E.g. typical polymer removal chemical savings in post-etch wafer cleaning can be up to 20% and the increase in wafers pass-in up to 40%
The PR-23-MS is mounted directly in-line. The workers need not to tap off lab samples and analyze hazardous chemicals in the laboratory. This is a remarkable step towards a safer workplace. The technology works as a safety belt for the chemical supply operations. When the instrument is installed and in place the worker can “rest easy”. There are also savings in the waste chemical management. Certain chemicals require a separate disposal system and every volume unit saved is both economically and environmentally rewarding.
K-Patents' key area of expertise over the past 25 years has been applying in-line refractive index measurement technique to industrial process applications around the world. K-Patents PR-23-MS was specifically designed for the semiconductor industry to allow easy integration in a wet station or in a cabinet so that the need for footprint is very low. All wetted parts are made of non-metallic materials such as PTFE, PFA or PVDF, and sapphire or spinel. The PR-23-MS was developed in close co-operation with the clients in the semiconductor and wafer fabrication plants.