National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street, East Hartford, CT, 06108
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractNot Available This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop a real-time, whole wafer sensor for process monitoring and fault detection in advanced semiconductor and thin film fabrication processes. The production of future semiconductor and optoelectronic devices will depend critically on continued advances in process sensing and control. In present-day manufacturing, process yield and productivity are limited by the high sensitivity of layer properties to process conditions, and by an inability to control process conditions adequately throughout the process sequence. Current technology relies primarily on open-loop control using indirect sensor signals; a costly practice resulting in significant scrap and equipment downtime for preventative maintenance. To address this problem through improved closed loop control, this project will develop a high performance imaging radiometer with advanced thermographic and wafer mapping algorithms. Phase II includes hardware, software, and applications development that addresses important components of the sensor technology for monitoring blanket and patterned substrates. The sensor will provide near video-rate, spatially resolved whole wafer measurements of temperature and film properties from a model-based analysis of thermal radiance images. In-house testing on a rapid thermal processing tool and field testing on a MOCVD reactor will be performed. Potential commercial applications are anticipated in optimization and control of many advanced semiconductor fabrication processes such as rapid thermal processing (RTP), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), and metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). Improved whole wafer sensors have potential for significant increase in the number of process steps performed by RTP and thus increase the RTP as a generic process method. The commercial benefits of an in-situ wafer state sensor include reduced scrap, reduced equipment preventative maintenance, improved process efficiency, and improved device uniformity and performance.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.