In the world of semiconductors and microelectronics, precision and reliability are paramount. The industry is undergoing immense technological advancements, with electronic components becoming smaller, faster and more powerful. To ensure the flawless operation of these delicate devices, the quality of the materials used is of utmost importance. One such essential material is water, specifically purified water.
Purified water: powering cleanroom excellence in semiconductor manufacturing
In the semiconductor and microelectronics industry, cleanroom facilities are the epicentre of production. These facilities must maintain extremely low levels of airborne contaminants, as even microscopic particles can disrupt the fabrication of electronic components. Purified water plays a pivotal role in these cleanrooms, serving various critical functions including:
Wafer cleaning – silicon wafers used in semiconductor fabrication are subjected to numerous cleaning and etching processes. Any impurities in the water could lead to defects in the final product, making high-purity water essential for the task.
Chemical mixing and dilution – many chemicals used in the manufacturing process require precise dilution and purified water serves as a reliable solvent. The absence of impurities ensures that chemical reactions occur as expected, maintaining the quality and integrity of the microelectronics.
Cooling and heat transfer – advanced semiconductor equipment generates significant amounts of heat and purified water is employed as a cooling agent, ensuring that the machines operate at the optimal temperature, preventing damage to sensitive components.
Semiconductor water grades: from ultrapure to high purity
The semiconductor industry has strict standards for the quality of purified water. Different grades of water are used for various applications, but the water used for the most sensitive processes such as wafer cleaning and lithography is Ultrapure Water (UPW). This is the highest grade of purified water, with a resistivity of 18.2 megaohm-cm at 25°C, free of contaminants and impurities.
High Purity water is also used for less critical applications, such as cooling and general equipment cleaning. While it is not as pure as UPW, it still meets stringent quality requirements.
Water purification technologies
The semiconductor and microelectronics industry relies on a range of advanced water purification technologies to meticulously eliminate ions, particles, TOCs, TDS, oxidants and bacteria thus achieving the requisite purity levels. These include:
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
RO is often the first step in water treatment, removing large particles and contaminants from the water.
Deionisation (DI): DI uses ion-exchange resins to remove ions and impurities from the water, achieving high levels of purity.
UF systems use membranes to remove particulate matter and bacteria from the water.
Distillation: Distillation processes involve boiling and condensing water to separate it from impurities.
Electrodeionisation (EDI): EDI employs electrical currents to remove ions and produce high-purity water.
In semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturing, pure water stands as an unsung hero. Its role in controlling contamination, facilitating chemical processes and preparing surfaces cannot be overstated. Therefore, selecting the best water purification system in semiconductor production is critical, but it can be complex.
The ideal water purification system for semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturing hinges on several critical factors. These include the specific water quality and quantity requirements of your facility, budget considerations, local water quality conditions and scalability requirements. Ultimately, the best-suited system will be one that meets your unique needs.
Unlock the power of purity with Purite: water purification systems for semiconductor & microelectronics production
As a UK-based water treatment pioneer with 40+ years’ experience, Purite is a leader in sustainable ultrapure water treatment solutions. We’ve proudly cemented our role as a trusted ally in the semiconductor industry with eco-friendly systems that meet industry standards.
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Bespoke water treatment solutions: Precision-crafted systems designed to meet the stringent demands of semiconductor manufacturing.
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