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Improve Temperature Control for Semiconductor Gas Delivery Systems

The importance of maintaining precise temperature & gas purity in semiconductor fabrication

Summary: Precise temperature control is critical to improving semiconductor gas delivery systems. Semiconductor manufacturing takes place in cleanrooms, so thermal management and insulation solutions must meet strict material requirements. This article focuses on how Insulon® advanced vacuum insulation can improve thermal stability for gas delivery piping.

Cleanroom Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductor manufacturers are constantly developing more advanced microchips, and they expect parallel advancements in cleanroom equipment. Highly-controlled cleanroom environments must follow strict purity requirements at all times to prevent contamination.

Concept Group’s product line offers cleanroom-compliant pipe insulation for semiconductor manufacturers and equipment suppliers. Semiconductor gas delivery systems require reliable thermal insulation to reduce heat loss and improve temperature control. These improvements result in improved thermal stability in piping systems.

Sterile, high-precision semiconductor manufacturing in a cleanroom

UHP Gases

Semiconductor chip manufacturing relies on ultra-high-purity (UHP) gases, including bulk and electronic specialty gases (ESGs). Bulk gases include elements such as hydrogen, nitrogen, and argon. ESGs include materials such as ammonia, nitrous oxide, and germane.

Critical processes such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) use specialty gases to fabricate chips. Chemical delivery is necessary to precisely deposit silicon and other miniature electronic components onto extremely small surfaces (circuit boards, etc.).

These critical applications require high thermal stability and temperature control. High-performance insulation can help minimize heat transfer during gas flow and distribution.

Cylinders of helium, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and hydrogen gases
Bulk gases and electronic specialty gases (ESGs)

UHP Piping

The entire piping network inside a semiconductor cleanroom must keep out any environmental impurities that could interfere with production. This network includes gas delivery piping systems as well as plumbing and HVAC systems. Ultra-high-purity (UHP) piping distributes ESGs at the required flow rates and temperatures for the best fabrication results.

Minor errors in process piping and tubing can ruin an entire batch. Even small weld defects can require significant reworking, causing delays in production line completion.

Before implementing a thermal insulation solution, semiconductor manufacturers must ensure that the materials are compliant with cleanroom requirements. Materials that do not fulfill cleanroom requirements can interfere with production and have significant adverse effects.

Achieving Thermal Stability

Precise temperature control is critical to semiconductor manufacturing, particularly within gas delivery systems. The best path to improving temperature control is to reduce heat transfer between process gases and their environment. Insulated piping solutions can help minimize heat transfer and improve thermal stability for bulk and electronic specialty gases (ESGs).

Stainless Steel Insulation

Stainless steel resists corrosion, making it an industry-standard material for equipment installed in a cleanroom. Insulon® piping integrates a thermal vacuum barrier into a double-walled, stainless steel structure. Both the inner flow tube and the external pipe are corrosion-resistant stainless steel.

Stainless steel vacuum insulated pipes
Stainless steel vacuum insulated piping engineered with Insulon® Technology

Reducing Condensation

Semiconductor processing uses a significant amount of cryogenic fluids, which often cause condensation to collect on piping. Vacuum insulated pipes help prevent condensation and sweating, which can be a problem to be reckoned with in semiconductor applications.

Environmental Impact

Modern-day manufacturing facilities consider the environmental impacts of their engineering and manufacturing processes. These considerations include energy efficiency, and thermal efficiency is a big part of the equation.

Insulon advanced vacuum insulation can help piping systems:

  • Conserve heat (or cold)
  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Reduce energy demands
  • Reduce waste heat
  • Enable more precise temperature control
  • Reduce material loss, for example, with cryogenic boil-off
  • Improve product batch yield

Summary

High-quality thermal insulation is critical to reducing heat loss from process piping in cleanroom manufacturing environments. Insulon® pipes are an excellent choice for the unique, highly sterile operating conditions of semiconductor manufacturing plants.

Advanced Vacuum Insulation

Concept Group’s proven Insulon technology provides high-performance thermal insulation for applications from -270°C to 1,000°C. We custom-engineer intricate components and produce them at high volume, emphasizing quality control and lean manufacturing principles. To learn more about our products, visit Vacuum Insulated Tubes & Hoses.

Concept Group LLC

Concept Group LLC is a thermal engineering firm specializing in advanced insulation solutions for complex and demanding thermal challenges. We combine innovative engineering with expert manufacturing to develop proprietary solutions for clients across industries.

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