Semiconductors are used in every computerized device, from household objects like your mobile phone or coffeemaker, to complex machines like vehicles, defense technology, or spacecraft. Semiconductor cleanrooms are used in a wide variety of applications to produce semiconductors, manufacture microprocessor chips from semiconductors, and package semiconductor components and products.
Let’s dive deeper into semiconductor cleanrooms including some common applications, cleanroom classifications, and cleanroom design features.
What are Semiconductor Cleanrooms?
Before we explore the many features of semiconductor cleanrooms, let’s back up and explore what semiconductors are.
What are Semiconductors?
Semiconductors are made using a glassy, solid material of pure silicon, which is shaped in a molten state and then cut into thin wafers. Semiconductors are prized for their special conductive behavior — which behaves both like a metal and insulator — and are a vital ingredient for manufacturing computer circuitry.
Since the slightest inconsistency can compromise the production of semiconductors, all semiconductor cleanrooms must comply with strict standards to ensure complete sterility of the manufacturing environment.
Semiconductor Cleanroom Applications
Semiconductors are used in many industries, ranging from manufacturing of computers and devices to the development of military technology and equipment. Quality and purity in semiconductor production is crucial to ensuring success of whatever technology they will aid in powering and controlling — which is why extremely controlled semiconductor cleanrooms are essential.
Semiconductor Cleanroom Classifications
Semiconductor cleanrooms often run 24 hours a day due to the high demand for these valuable computer components. The cleanroom classification must be maintained consistently throughout the process — as any drop below strict standards could have disastrous consequences.
Semiconductor cleanrooms typically must comply with the ISO 14644-1 Class 5 or lower, which stipulates a minimum allowed particle count of 3,520 particles 0.5µm or smaller. They must also meet the requirements of ISO 14644-2 which imposes a quality control system in order to maintain strict classification standards.
Semiconductor cleanrooms likely also have industry-specific requirements depending on their unique application, such as ASTM standards or NASA standards for aerospace applications. These work with the ISO classification system to ensure that the environment is always controlled, and the products that come out of it are of a consistent and enduring quality.
Semiconductor Cleanroom Design
Semiconductor cleanrooms require a robust cleanroom design that helps them reach and maintain strict air quality standards, while allowing for easy movement and workflow. This starts with powerful cleanroom HVAC and filtration systems to condition and circulate the air to remove particles up to the allowed limits. Machines within the cleanroom may each have their own exhaust system which removes unclean air and particles.
Staff working in semiconductor cleanrooms must also be specially outfitted to prevent any contamination. Some semiconductor cleanrooms may have robotic equipment or special safety protocols in place to protect workers from radioactive processes, toxic chemical exposure, lasers, and magnetic fields.
Semiconductor cleanrooms must be designed to control static, particulate matter, out-gassing, and other sources of contamination and compromising conditions to protect workers and consumers, and to ensure success of the project.
Think a semiconductor cleanroom is right for you? Angstrom Technology can help you design, build, and install the perfect cleanroom for you. Using static dissipative materials for flooring, wall panels, furniture, and more, you can trust that your work and employees will always be protected. Give Angstrom Technology a call for all of your cleanroom needs.