The innovative electrochemical residue sensor (ECRS) developed by the Environmental Metrology Corporation (EMC) in Tucson for the semiconductor production industry is now on sale.
EMC had been conducting the commercial development and testing of this sensor for more than seven years. The sensor’s related intellectual property (IP) with one pending patent and three issued patents is also up for sale.
This technology is based on the science created at the University of Arizona and has been tested at two major semiconductor producers’ facilities thoroughly. It enables wafer rinsing process optimization and helps to achieve yearly savings of 50% when compared to traditional rinsing. These tests have demonstrated that the ECRS is capable of detecting minute impurity quantities left as residue due to an incomplete cleaning procedure. Semiconductor International has awarded EMC with the Editors Choice award in the category of Best Product for 2009.
ECRS is considered a breakthrough in the industry since it offers an accurate method of process control for an important stage in semiconductor production. The wafers are usually cleaned and rinsed roughly 400 times resulting in the consumption of ultra pure water and chemicals in large quantities.
Previously the ECRS could be marketed by using a collaborative model. The Arizona University’s Engineering Research Center dealing for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor production had developed the basic science behind the ECRS along with the mentoring and support of the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Developed in 2003 by the center as EMC, a prototype was developed, manufactured and tested was done under the program called Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Subsequently private investment supported the program resulting in the development of the sensor’s commercial version for undergoing successful tests in real world semiconductor production facilities.
Presently the sensor’s wireless version is under joint development by Arizona State University based ConnectionOne Industry-University Research Center and the EMC.
EMC Chairman Doug Goodman informed that his company has jointly worked with and invested heavily with semiconductor production customers to demonstrate the technology’s efficacy and quantified its advantages. He added that as per industry research firm Gartner’s report the semiconductor industry has started to rebound and is predicted to increase its capital spending in 2010 to $29.4 billion. He feels this is the best time to seek a purchaser for this technology. The technology is capable of selling and supporting ECRS on a wide global scale as an integral component of the semiconductor production process.
He highlighted the fact that conservation is emerging as a crucial concern for semiconductor makers in relation to availability of resources, disposal of waste and reduction of costs. Production based on sustainable utilization of resources is emerging more crucial since the technology is scaling down and approaching the nano dimensions and as device sizes decrease the utilization of resources increases rapidly.