Wafer cleaning is the removal of particles or impurities from the semiconductor surface without altering the quality of the surface. The performance of the device and its reliability are affected considerably due to the presence of contaminants and particulate impurities on the wafers of device surface. The cleaning is required to remove the residues and improve the performance of the semiconductors employed for various applications. The decreasing size of semiconductors makes it difficult for the smaller particles to be removed in the cleaning process. Also the impurities get strongly bonded to the surface owing to the strong electrostatic force that exists between the surface and the impurities. Microelectronic cleaning involves the removal of contamination and impurities by various technologies namely supercritical fluid, cryogenic aerosol, aqueous, dry, and wet chemical cleaning.
The surface cleaning should be done carefully so that the surface of the silicon is not affected adversely or damaged. There are various steps involved in cleaning the silicon wafers namely, solvent clean, RCA-1 clean followed by hydrofluoric acid (HF) dip. In step 1, the silicon wafer is subjected to a two solvent cleaning process. Firstly, the wafer is soaked in the acetone bath at a temperature of not more than 55 degree Celsius for ten minutes. After this, the silicon wafer is dipped into methanol solvent for about five minutes. The wafer is then rinsed with deionized water followed by blow drying with nitrogen gas.
In the second step, the RCA clean method is used to remove the organic residue if any and provide a thin protective layer of oxide to the surface of the water so that no impurity from the water surface sticks to the wafer’s surface. The final step involves the removal of silicon dioxide from the wafer surface. Thus, the surface of the silicon wafer is cleaned of any impurities and contaminations.
The growing electronics and semiconductor industry is said to be the primary driver for the global wafer cleaning equipment market. Growth in the tablet and smartphone market is also a significant driver for the market. There is huge demand for electronics manufacturing and semiconductor devices in the Asia Pacific region. There is also a growing demand for LED lights due to the increase in its commercial use. This necessitates the maintenance of the silicon wafer employed in electronics. However, the changing quality standards may hinder the growth of the market. Nevertheless, the growing need to maintain the widely used silicon wafers in the electronics industry is anticipated to positively impact the global wafer cleaning equipment market.
The wafer cleaning equipment market has been segmented on the basis of equipment type, wafer size, application, and geography. Based on equipment type, the market has been divided into single-wafer spray systems, single-wafer cryogenic systems, batch immersion cleaning systems, batch spray cleaning systems, and scrubbers. Based on the wafer size, the market has been segregated into 125m, 200mm, and 300mm. Depending on application, the market has been divided into MEMS, CIS, memory, RF Device, LED, interposer, and logic. As per geography, the wafer cleaning equipment market has been divided into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and South America.
Some of the major players in the wafer cleaning equipment market include SCREEN Holdings Co., Tokyo Electron Limited, QuantumClean, Axus Technologies, Ultron Systems, Inc.,Lam Research Corporation, Applied Materials Inc., Atmi Technology, PVA TePla AG, SEMES Ltd., Modutek Corporation, Shibaura Mechatronics Corporation, and Entegris, Inc.