SBIR Phase II: Novel Sensor for Control of Cleaning Processes During the Fabrication of Microstructures

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0548743
Agency Tracking Number: 0420158
Amount: $470,050.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 03-535
Small Business Information
6595 North Oracle Road, Suite 153B, Tucson, AZ, 85704-
DUNS: 333333333
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Bert Vermeire
 (520) 742-3300
Business Contact
 Farhang Shadman
Title: Mr
Phone: (520) 742-3300
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project provides a unique and robust in-situ sensor for detection and control of impurities in microstructures and porous layers associated with manufacturing of semiconductor, MEMS, and emerging nanodevices. Use of impedance as a measure of contamination in bulk fluids is well established. However, applying it in micro-scale features is novel and has many promising applications. The proposed Electro-Chemical Residue Sensor (ECSR) technology is not aimed at developing yet another sensor to measure contaminants in fluids. It is rather aimed at the in-situ, real-time, and low-cost measurement of residual contamination inside and on the sidewalls of micro- and nano- features (the bottlenecks of cleaning, rinsing, and drying). The Phase II proposed plan is to design, fabricate, and test a prototype sensor assembly and develop its interface with process tools for cleaning, rinsing, and drying of micro-features. The first planned application, amounting to annual commercial market revenue of $9M to $30M, will be in rinsing and drying of patterned wafers and porous films in micro-electronics manufacturing. Currently, these operations are often run with no adequate real-time control. Insufficient cleaning and drying have significant negative impact on manufacturing yields and device performance. On the other hand, excessive cleaning and drying results in damage to the micro-structures, increase in cost, and wasting of chemicals, water, and energy. The application of the ECRS technology to wafer rinsing alone is expected to reduce water usage by 40-60%.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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