STMicroelectronics has become the first to install a CE-marked on-site fluorine (F2) generator at its 300mm fab in Crolles, France. The two systems, required for Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) chamber cleaning at the fab are a direct replacement for NF3. However, the Crolles site had previously used high pressure F2 cylinders, which needed to trucked and kept on-site. Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group was responsible for the project, which now uses its ‘Generation-F’ technology.
“The installation of Europe’s first on-site fluorine generators at our Crolles wafer fabrication plant is testament to STMicroelectronics’ commitment to increasing safety and improving our eco-footprint,” said David Ferrand, Director of Facilities at the Crolles 200 and Crolles 300 fabs. “We have directly reduced our carbon footprint at Crolles 300mm by eliminating cylinder deliveries. We are excited by the potential for even greater environmental efficiency by using the generation capacity in other cleaning applications.”
“As operators of thermal CVD furnaces look to optimize costs and minimize risk through stricter safety requirements, Linde is seeing a quicker pace of adoption for on-site generated fluorine,” said Greg Shuttleworth, Semiconductor Product Manager for Linde Gases Division. “We are also seeing increasing interest in using F2 as an alternative to NF3 for the cleaning of Plasma-Enhanced CVD chambers due to concerns over the very high global warming potential of NF3 and imminent legislation that could restrict its use.”
Linde noted that the on-site generation system would significantly reduce NF2 contamination issues due to the elimination of cylinder changes as well as reduce the load on abatement systems. Greater reliability of gas box components is also expected due to the elimination of frequent cylinder changes.