Chip manufacturing facilities possess some of the highest calibre cleanrooms of any industry sector. Semiconductor fabrication processes that increasingly create silicon conductor structures based on 3-nanometre lithographic patterns are exposed to even the smallest microscopic speck of contamination.
A single 10-nanometre particle, which is 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can obscure the conductors of a chip pattern if it contaminates the optical mask of the photolithography system. The step-and-repeat litho exposure process means that every chip on the silicon wafer could be ruined.
Silicon wafers are high-value assets. Photolithography contamination directly impacts semiconductor yields, so extreme cleanliness in the fabrication environment is imperative. FMS offers the AeroTrak 9001CPC particle counter that uses pure water condensing technology to detect particles down to 10nm in size, allowing wafer fab to be halted to prevent product wastage while contamination is cleared.