Essential safety considerations when using vacuum pumps in the semiconductor industry

semiconductor industry

In the semiconductor industry, vacuum pumps are vital for multiple processes like evaporation, sputtering, and PECVD (Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition). They are also used in vacuum dry etching, vacuum adsorption, vacuum cleaning, testing equipment, and other bonding processes.

However, it is crucial to recognize that the semiconductor manufacturing process involves the generation of highly flammable, explosive, and toxic gases. These gases pose a significant risk to both production and personnel safety.

Therefore, customers operating in the semiconductor industry should prioritize the following safety precautions when utilizing vacuum pumps.

Keep vacuum pump, filters and pipelines clean to avoid overpressure

The pumping gas media passes through the reaction chamber and interior of the vacuum pump. It is important to note that the composition of the gases involved can be highly complex. For example, when SiH4 and O2 interact at the pump inlet, SiO2 formation can occur. Similarly, the hydrolysis of TiCl4 can generate HCl. Additionally, if an oil-sealed mechanical pump is utilized, these gas substances may undergo chemical reactions upon mixing with the lubricating oil.

These reactions can result in the production of particles, condensable materials, or corrosive media, which have the potential to cause obstructions within the vacuum pump or pipeline system. Consequently, the performance of the vacuum pump may be significantly affected, leading to pressure buildup or overpressure situations.

To mitigate these issues, it is imperative to promptly clean the vacuum pump and, if deemed necessary, install appropriate filtration equipment. This proactive approach helps minimize the impact of these reactions and ensures the smooth operation of the vacuum pump and the integrity of the overall system.

Effectively reduce the concentration of harmful gases

As mentioned earlier, the semiconductor industry frequently produces flammable, explosive, and toxic gases. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take preventive measures to avoid uncontrolled reactions that may occur within the vacuum pump or during the gas discharge process.

Notably, substances like SiH4, PH3, AsH3, and B2H6 can undergo combustion or even cause explosions when exposed to air or oxygen. Additionally, hydrogen gas has the potential to ignite when mixed with air at specific concentrations and temperatures. The occurrence of these reactions is dependent on factors such as substance quantity, as well as the pressure and temperature of the environment.

Consequently, it becomes essential to employ inert gases like nitrogen to dilute these gases to a safe range before compression.

Closely monitor the concentration of oxygen

In situations where the oxygen concentration is excessively high, there exists a significant risk of combustion and explosion. Hence, it becomes crucial to closely monitor the oxygen concentration and employ inert gases for dilution. This effectively prevents the occurrence of dangerously elevated oxygen levels. For oil-sealed mechanical pumps, it is advisable to utilize vacuum oil that is both inert and compatible with oxygen. Furthermore, regular replacement of the vacuum oil and its filters is essential for optimal performance and safety.

Prevent excessive temperatures

In the semiconductor applications, hazardous gases and high temperatures are often encountered in the vacuum pump chamber. It is essential to acknowledge the significant risk posed by flammable, explosive, and toxic gases, particularly at elevated temperatures.

The safety concerns mentioned above hold immense significance when utilizing vacuum pumps in the semiconductor industry. They should never be disregarded or underestimated.

The EVS screw vacuum pumps are widely used in the semiconductor industry. It is known for its environmental friendliness and numerous advantages. These include a wide pumping speed range, excellent energy efficiency, stability, and easy maintenance.

Coolink, a TOP 3 Global HVAC Vacuum Pump Manufacturer & Quality Industrial Vacuum Pump Supplier from China

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