Center for Microcontamination Control (CMC)
Reduction of defects and improving yield in semiconductor manufacturing is key to U.S. competitiveness
Mission Statement and Rationale
Inhomogeneous contamination (inorganic or biological) in a process chamber, gas stream, or liquid chemical can affect many of the processing steps required to fabricate a semiconductor device. Homogeneous contamination in gases and liquids may cause deposits on a surface that result in performance problems in semiconductor devices. Contamination may also affect a chemical reaction involved in depositing, etching, or polishing a film.
The CMC's research goals are to--
In 1998 the Center expanded to add a research site at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and in 2001, further expanded to add a research site at Northeastern University. Researchers from RPI's Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering Departments, along with those from Northeastern's Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Physics, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments, participate in and manage Center projects.
CMC's contributions include the following--
Special Center Activities
A CMC researcher has designed a metrology tool, which will detect on-line, and in-situ, the formation of the first mono-molecular protein layer. This protein layer must form prior to the arrival of any bacteria. It will be useful to determine cleaning and sanitizing schedules for ultrapure water systems as well as commercial reverse osmosis systems. These same tools can be used to evaluate new materials for their suitability in demanding applications.
Using conclusions from a project initially funded by the membership, QRP, Inc. sponsored additional research that resulted in the development of an electrostatic discharge detector, referred to as the "static bug." CMC then transferred the technology of electrostatic discharge detection to QRP as the exclusive licensee to manufacture the detector. The static bug, which looks like a dual inline pin package, is being designed as a low-cost item to monitor microchips that have been damaged in shipping.
A CMC researcher has developed a radically new method using the DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to characterize the bacterial content of ultrapure water. The goal of this project is to create a method which is both on-line and radically more sensitive than current technology. Current tests require 3-5 days and are not accurate. DNA-PCR can detect, in a few hours, one bacterium equivalent in 100 liters of water.
Computer software developed by the CMC calculates the scattered light from a particle on a layered semiconductor wafer. This computer program was used by KLA-Tencor to aid customers in calibrating counters. It was also used to design a new generation of highly efficient surface scanners -- for example, the Surfscan 6400 series. This instrument can detect a 0.2 micrometer particle on the rough backside of a silicon wafer.
Some of the Center's other accomplishments in the area of technology transfer include--
The Center's educational program has provided a cross-disciplinary research environment with myriad opportunities for students and faculty from across the campus to across the Atlantic. Numerous doctoral and masters students have completed their degree programs with support from CMC funding.
The Center has supported short courses in--
The Center's facilities include the following--
Center Co-Director: John F. O'Hanlon
Center Co-Director: Kenneth Rose
Center Co-Director: Ahmed Busnaina
Center Evaluator: David A. Tansik
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