Material flow of gallium arsenide and risk analysis in the III/V-semiconductor industry in Germany
(Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
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Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is a III/V-semiconductor material and a key component in many electronic and optoelectronic applications such as telecommunications, defense systems, solar cells, material processing and consumer electronic items. The application of GaAs and other III/V-semiconductor materials has led to large gains in energy efficiency compared to conventional products – for instance in the case of LEDs, lasers, and solar cells. Since the controversial classification of GaAs as category 1B carcinogen under the EU Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) in 2013, research has been under way to improve the existing data basis regarding material flows as well as exposure potential and emissions during manufacturing processes. For this purpose, a consortium of German industry and research organizations jointly created inventories of all relevant manufacturing processes, from substrate production to product (die). Simplified quantitative material flow models were generated by clustering the complex process chains and underlying material flows. Further, data on risk management approaches was compiled by measurement of GaAs in workplaces and waste flows, focusing on the processes where exposure is most likely to occur. Additionally, biomonitoring was carried out to monitor the effectiveness of risk management measures in the manufacturing environment. Excerpts of the methodology and results will be presented.