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Industry Applications - Semiconductor & Solar

IR Sensors in Solar and Semiconductor Manufacturing
Infrared Temperature Measurement in Semiconductor Processing

Temperature measurement during many semiconductor processes is very difficult. Often the process will not allow the use of temperature sensors like thermocouples because the product cannot be touched or is inside of a vacuum chamber. The processes require fast response times and very accurate repeatable readings from room to high temperatures. The instruments must maintain accurate temperatures for a process that may take days to complete.

Ircon® rugged and dependable noncontact infrared thermometers allow temperature measurement that has small optical resolutions, fast response times and drift free operation for long periods of time. Listed below are examples of how Ircon infrared products are used in semiconductor processes and how they can improve quality, insure accurate and long term temperature control. For additional applications and product recommendations, please contact our application engineers.

Polycrystal Production

The process of growing polycrystal rods requires the heating of single polycrystal rods to a very critical temperature and holding this temperature for several days. The initial rods are very small, requiring a sensor that is able to focus on a small target. The process is in a large vacuum chamber, thus the instrument must be able to see thru a quartz window. The Ircon Modline 5R two-color thermometer can resolve very small targets, control high temperatures and provide long term stable temperature indications. They are available in explosion proof housings and the entire system can be remotely controlled with Modview™ Pro software.

Recommended product: Modline® 5R with explosion proof housing.

Single Crystal Growing (Czochralski Method)

The polycrystal rods are broken up and placed in a crucible, melted and drawn into a large boule of pure single crystal. The process requires that the melt temperature be controlled very accurately during the entire cycle, which can last several days. The suggested instrument is a two color thermometer. The crucible is heated using radiant heaters or induction heating. The crucible temperature can be measured and controlled using a single wavelength thermometer. The small sensor can easily fit into small, difficult locations. One additional parameter that is controlled is the diameter of the boule and this is accomplished using a single wavelength thermometer, like the Modline 5, 52 series.

Recommended products: Modline 5R or Modline 6R fiber optic two color sensors for the melt and the Modline 52 series for diameter control.

Single Crystal Growing (Float Zone Method)

This process heats the polycrystal rod using an induction heater. The melt temperature is controlled very carefully to insure the growth of a single crystal boule. The suggested infrared thermometer is the two color thermometer because it can work with very small targets and see between the induction coils. The linear output can be used to control the induction process within one degree of temperature.

Recommended product: Modline 5R two color or ratio thermometer.

MBE (Molecular Beam Epitaxy)

The coating of substrates, such as silicon and gallium arsenide requires that the individual wafer be heated to a specific temperature and then coatings applied to build an integrated circuit. The Ircon Modline 7V infrared thermometer operates at a wavelength that can measure the wafer temperature from 400 to 1250ºC (750 to 2280ºF). For lower temperatures down to 250ºC (480ºF), other thermometers are available. The thermometers can measure small spot targets, see thru quartz windows and have very long temperature measurement stability.

Recommended products: Modline 7V.

Wafer Polishing

After the single crystal boule has been sliced into individual wafers, the wafer has to be polished in a machine that has the wafer resting on a marble plate with a slurry that is passed over the wafer. As a polishing wheel smoothes the surface, the temperature of the wafer typically cannot exceed 25ºC (77ºF). An infrared thermometer operating at 8-14 microns can measure from 0-100ºC (32-212ºF) and measure the thin film of slurry as it passes over the wafer. The sensor has thru-the-lens viewing, so it can be aimed at critical locations on the wafer.

Recommended products: Modline 74 and Modline 44.

Solar and semiconductor manufacturing processes greatly benefit from the use of Ircon infrared thermometers. These benefits include:

  • Precise temperature measurement in hard to reach areas, such as a vacuum chamber
  • Long term stable temperature control
  • Improved product quality and uniformity
  • Less scrap of expensive materials


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