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Zooming in: Contamination Control

An interview with Pieter de Bokx,  competence leader Contamination Control, Philips Innovation Labs


Modern applications require ever decreasing contamination levels and contamination control is vital in materials processing. Accurate measurements can prevent defects in the final product, along with the resulting yield loss and reduced long-term reliability.

“Semiconductor system manufacturers demand that suppliers’ products, intended for assembly in their wafer  scanners, are as clean as possible,” explains Pieter de Bokx, competence leader Contamination Control. “Checking at the lowest possible contamination levels allows various suppliers’ products to meet such stringent standards. Moore’s law states that the number of transistors on ICs doubles every two years. Chips get smaller, but have more components, and the substance traces we need to detect are also getting smaller and smaller. An amount which wasn’t a problem a few years ago, could now lead to failure.”

“To help suppliers meet these challenges, we’re continuously investing in building and updating our expertise in contamination control. For most companies, gathering and digesting this highly specific knowledge simply requires too much time and effort, partly because specifications keep changing. Our customers can choose from a vast range of services with a uniquely broad scope, based on decades of semiconductor experience. With the array of equipment we have at our disposal as Philips’ main global test lab, we can look for different contamination types, such as particles, organic compounds, gas, surface contamination or liquids. Our unique location at the High Tech Campus also gives us an edge.”

“Unique test methods, using proprietary sampling and pre-concentration processes, provide  accurate results, even at extremely low emission and leakage levels. The latest generation of EUV wafer scanners work in a vacuum. We can now test for specific components with a mass spectrometer, or Residual Gas Analyzer (RGA) in a vacuum environment.”
“A range of consulting services are also on offer, ranging from advising clients on what they should and shouldn’t do in a clean room, to explaining which materials are safe - or unsafe - to use. Our ‘Advanced Competence Development’ projects are developing new measurement techniques for specific applications. We‘re also combining with other competences, such as mechatronics, to find new ways of clean prototyping to meet increasing demands.”

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Paul Krusemann 
Senior scientist Gas & Process Analysis
Phone: +31 6 22 37 19 34

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