EPITAXIAL REACTORS: Operational, Facilities and Maintenance EHS concerns
(Applied Materials Inc., Sunnyvale, CA)
Epitaxy (epi) is the first step of wafer deposition when there is a need for a high quality, well organized crystal structure in the first silicon layer. In the 1970s through the mid 90s, most epitaxial layers were added by the wafer manufacturers, who were well versed in the art of managing safety issues with epi reactors. In the mid 1990s and beyond, wafer fabs brought the epi processes in house, but did not necessarily understand the differences between epi and other deposition equipment. Problems that had previously existed primarily in wafer manufacturing sites manifested at a number of semiconductor fabs. This presentation will review the basics of epitaxial reactor function and discuss the environmental, safety and health issues in fabs running epitaxial reactors. The audience will be introduced to the purpose of epitaxy in semiconductors and to the types of reactors used in industry today. Information on common environmental, health and safety problems seen by industry will be given along with the best known control measures.