Environmental Impact of PFC Abatement, Capture and Recycle

Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases is an important objective for the semiconductor industry. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are typically used for in situ chamber cleans in semiconductor processing, using processes that consume approximately 30 to 40% of the PFCs, while the remaining 60 to 70% are currently emitted into the atmosphere. As of February, 1998 twenty-four semiconductor manufacturers have signed a voluntary agreement in response to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce their PFC emissions to less than 1995 levels. Achieving the requirements of this agreement will require a change in traditional abatement strategies. Multiple research and development projects are being sponsored by equipment and materials suppliers to address the alternatives. The tradeoffs between abatement, capture, recycling, and replacements of PFCs are complex and directly influence cost of ownership. These tradeoffs are discussed in detail.



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