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New Product: Eco-Snow technology improves efficiency of photomasks and reticle cleaning

14 January 2010 | By Mark Osborne | Product Briefings > Lithography

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Product Briefing Outline: Eco-Snow's advanced, automated MaskClean 150 System is a dry CO2 alternative to conventional cleaning methods for removing particulate and light organic contamination from the surface of photomask substrates. The system is helping a major U.S. photomask manufacturer save money and improve the quality of its photomasks and reticles with a cleaning technology designed for the 28nm DRAM half-pitch technology node. The system reclaims masks by removing contaminants left behind by wet cleaning; preserves mask quality by reducing the number of erosive wet cleaning cycles required and reduces the cycle time required to create masks, since fewer cleanings are needed.

Problem: Because even one small particle left during the manufacturing process can ruin a photomask, manufacturers require precise cleaning to ensure zero print defects on the integrated circuits the masks and reticles are used to produce.

Solution: The system's innovative CO2 precision surface processing technology offers numerous advantages: no drying time, low consumables cost, substrate temperature control, variable process definition, a small footprint, and eliminates the use and disposal of hazardous materials. The technology therefore allows manufacturers to start fewer masks in order to ensure a completed photomask or reticle meets specification.

Applications: Photomask substrate cleaning.

Platform: The MaskClean 150 system also accepts masks in SMIF pods, making it compatible with current generation mask production tool sets and extends usability to at least 2014. Eco-Snow Systems, an affiliate of The Linde Group, is a leading supplier of automated, carbon dioxide (CO2)-based cleaning tools and processes to the semiconductor industry.

Availability: January 2009 onwards.

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