Finite Element Analysis Semiconductor Equipment Engineering
Among our specialties are Semiconductor technology, process tools and chambers, and hold extensive knowledge in the design, manufacturing, and implementation of these machineries. Requiring extreme conditions, high precision, and advanced materials, semiconductor process chambers must be built to specifications sufficient to function safely for the people working around the chamber, as well as for the protection of the equipment itself.
FEA allows for comprehensive modeling of the chamber’s integrity during testing conditions. The FEA model serves as a virtual experiment that allows reduction in prototype cost and testing. An accurate model can reduce the costly repercussions of an incorrectly designed system. Not only does the FEA model provide a useful tool in validating a design, but it can also provide a platform for motivating design improvements and innovations once the product has graduated from beta phase and even after the product is released to market. FEA can help with continuous improvement, as well as the next generation or innovation.
Specifically in the design of a semiconductor chamber, FEA can be done to test the structural stability of the quartz dome cover, and test the conduction, convection, and radiation of heat throughout the chamber when operating temperatures are reached. Cooling channels inserted in the stainless steel body and clamp ring can be iteratively designed to optimize the cooling of the system to safe conditions for all materials. One particular point of failure that can occur is at the interface with o-rings securing the quartz dome within its stainless steel frame. With a steady-state temperature analysis, the conditions at the points along the o-ring can be investigated precisely, and recommendations can be made for modification of the design.
In addition to normal operation, emergency situations must be accounted for in the safe design of a semiconductor chamber. Transient temperature analysis can be performed to understand how the system behaves in case of an emergency power shutdown, when chamber cooling may be significantly reduced, increasing the risk of heat damage to the system.
Finite Element Analysis Results of a Semiconductor Chamber
The chamber analysis below is for a chamber in excess of 700 C. The dominant heat transfer mechanism is radiation. There are channels with cooling water, and o-rings to seal the vacuum chamber. The cooling fluid must be kept from excessing heat, otherwise it will over pressurize the chamber and other problems will occur in the cooling loop. The o-rings are elastomer, and can’t be subjected to excessive heat. The analysis must show how hot certain parts of the chamber become.
Figure 1: Chamber MODEL EXPLOSION
Figure 2: Chamber section view.
FEA as a Virtual Laboratory
FEA analysis results of a semiconductor chamber before cooling channel revision. The analysis showed temperatures are too high for the material to withstand the conditions. A redesign and subsequent FEA analysis showed that the thermal objectives could be achieved.
Figure 3: Chamber pre-revision thermal results. The analysis shows temperatures are too high for the o-ring material to withstand the thermal conditions.
Figure 4: Chamber post-revision thermal results. The material temperatures have been reduced to safe operational limits.
Engineering and Litigation Projects
The Glew Engineering Consulting team has assisted in numerous engineering and litigation projects for many clients. Nearly all are confidential and can’t be disclosed due to non disclosure agreements and protective orders. However, we have one example below, and hope to have more available later.
Decades of work in electronics, materials science, mechanical machinery, andsemiconductor technology has provided Glew consultants not only with a depth of knowledge and advanced technical skills, but also with valuable experience that they utilize every case. We also provide advanced modeling and finite element analysiscapabilities for all applications.
Below is a representative project: