Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Mass Flow Controller
Mass flow controllers (MFCs), one of the most commonly-used components in the semiconductor manufacturing production line, exist in 75% of all process tools. Used to regulate process gas flow, these components must be accurate, reliable, clean, and have reproducible performance parameters. However in 1991, MFCs were identified as the most failure-prone component in the U.S. semiconductor industry.
In 1993, SEMATECH contracted Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a facility for evaluating and improving MFCs. The Mass Flow Development Laboratory (MFDL), a state-of-the-art facility, houses three testbeds and uses 15 standardized test methods which were developed by SEMATECH and ORNL personnel. The three testbeds evaluate the performance of MFCs for reliability, accuracy, and environmental effects. Unique features of MFDL include:
4. Standardized Test Methods establish a uniform comparison for all MFC types and characteristics.
5. Gravimetric Calibrator provides high accuracy, high speed (hours versus days), and high safety (no disconnect for hazardous gases) testing. ORNL won the R&D 100 Award in 1995 for the development of this calibrator and holds an international patent.
6. Reliability Testing has 28 parallel flow loops and accelerates life cycle tests while maintaining parallel and comparable test configurations.
7. Accuracy Testbed provides high-accuracy, high-safety, and fully remediated testing of process gas flow. This automated testbed uses one parallel testing loop and a class-100 clean room environment.
8. Hazardous Process Gas Flow Testbed allows for the handling of toxic, corrosive, and flammable process gases.
In 1995, MFDL became a Department of Energy (DOE) National User Center which provides industry, university, and government customers easy access to the facility. It is estimated that a 0.01% increase in semiconductor yields could result in a savings of over $100 million per year throughout the U.S. semiconductor industry.
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