SBIR Phase I: Highly Efficient Exhaust Cleanup Technology for Environmentally Benign Processing

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0419257
Agency Tracking Number: 0419257
Amount: $99,980.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 03-535
Small Business Information
1619 Garnet St, Broomfield, CO, 80020
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ofer Sneh
 (303) 466-2341
Business Contact
 Ofer Sneh
Phone: (720) 887-8166
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a novel integrated reactive abatement module (IRAM) that effectively removes solidifying chemicals from the exhaust effluent of deposition and etch manufacturing processes. Growing safety concerns and escalating costs dedicated to environmental protection is one of the drivers to continuously migrate semiconductor manufacturing outside of the US. In this project, hazardous chemicals will be reactively converted into inert solid films over a removable high-area filtration element. An integrated high-speed downstream pressure control will actively suppress IRAM-induced pressure fluctuations that may affect the process. The reactive process will apply highly effective chemical reactions to convert the solidifying chemicals into stable inert films. Objectives include superior maintainability of low-pressure exhaust manifolds and pumps and substantially improved safety of device processing systems, hence promoting safe and environmentally benign semiconductor manufacturing at a competitive cost. Broader impact: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) are considered the cornerstones of semiconductor manufacturing technology. In the last decade these manufacturing-technologies have also migrated into the explosively growing area of nano-technology. These process techniques emit reactive, toxic and solidifying chemicals and produce a hazardous and destructive residue in low-pressure exhaust manifolds that clogs up the conduits and destroys the vacuum pumps. Slow and inefficient chemical reactions, driven by the typically low pressure and low temperature conditions in exhaust manifolds, convert the reactive exhaust mixture into hazardous residue instead of completely reacted inert films. Frequent maintenance requires ambient exposure of these hazardous-residue-containing exhaust manifolds with risks to the workers and the workplace. Growing safety concerns and escalating cost dedicated to environmental protection severely hampers the semiconductor industry and reduces its competitiveness in the US. Overcoming this deficiency, IRAM technology will apply environmentally benign chemistry with a localized production of short-lived highly reactive species capable to completely extracting the solidifying chemicals out of exhaust streams to produce inert solid films. This novel chemistry has a broad range of device processing applications and can positively impact manufacturing costs. Key Words: CVD, RIE, ALD, abatement, semiconductor manufacturing, LPCVD, foreline, EH&S, environmental health and safety. E.B.A 5/24/04

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

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