It’s no secret that the semiconductor industry is a heavily polluting one. The smokestacks of chip fabrication plants can be seen for miles, and the toxic chemicals used in the production process have serious environmental consequences. This has led to the development of abatement systems aimed at reducing or eliminating emissions from these facilities.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the implications of semiconductor abatement systems for the industry, what an abatement system is, its importance, and more.
What Is an Abatement System?
These are systems developed to work against polluting the environment and also harming humans through exhaust gases like global warming gases and others, which are a result of many manufacturing processes. These include chemical plants, the electronic device industry, which semiconductor development is a part of, and many other industries.
How these systems work is that they abate the gases, which means it is treated to reduce the intensity of their harmful effects on the environment. The gases are reduced to a minimum threshold limit value (TLV) which indicates a decrease in toxicity. Gas abatement can be carried out in many different ways, and depending on their point of use and the by-products of a process, the process might vary. We will discuss that in detail below, but before that – what is the importance of gas abatement systems in semiconductor manufacturing? Stay tuned to learn more.
The Importance of Abatement in Semiconductor Manufacturing
The semiconductor industry uses different gases that are extremely toxic to both the environment and humans. These implications on the entire atmosphere can be detrimental to health, sometimes lethal. The risk of being exposed to these gases or particles is too difficult to recover from, for which abatement is the ideal solution.
This is a vital step for all process tool original equipment manufacturers like the semiconductor industry and must be administered thoroughly. There are many specific requirements that each toxic or exhaust gas requires to be treated, ranging from combustion to wet technologies and many more. We have explored the many gases below, and the different types of abatement technologies as well. Keep reading to learn more.
The Types of Gases Abated in Semiconductors
There are many different types of gases used and let out from the semiconductor manufacturing process. These include perfluorocarbons (PFCs), global warming gases (GWGs), toxic gases, flammable gases, water-soluble gases, odorous gases, and more. All of these gases can be abated using various methods of treatment in a safe vacuum under controlled conditions of temperature, the ultimate pressure, and more to aid in the reduction of toxicity.
However, gases are not the only toxic contributors. Carbon tetrachloride is a highly toxic liquid used in the process of plasma etching on silicon, and the by-products of these chemicals must be abated too. Some of these semiconductor industry gases have been mentioned below.
- Phosphine gas
- Diborane gas
- Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
The Different Types of Abatement Technologies
Each gas has to be treated differently to abate it. There are various methods to treat each gas and ensure its toxicity, flammability levels, and other harmful effects are reduced. There are combustion-type gas abatement systems, wet technologies, thermal technologies, catalytic treatments, a combination of treatments, and many more.
These abatement technologies are used throughout the semiconductor fabrication process in semiconductor deposition, semiconductor etch PFC abatement, and many more, equipped with high-tech equipment and tools.
Semiconductor manufacturers are facing mounting pressure to reduce carbon emissions along with the need to eliminate gases that are flammable, toxic, odorous, and having other detrimental effects. This has led to the increased adoption of abatement systems, which remove pollutants from emissions sources.
The semiconductor fabrication industry is a key driver of global innovation and growth, and its impact on the environment and humans have been carefully considered in the strict development of these abatement systems. Abatement is a crucial factor of semiconductor fabrication and must be adhered to under strict conditions.
Abatement systems are mechanisms designed to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air or water from industrial facilities. These systems ensure that hazardous substances are adequately filtered before being discharged into our environment, protecting both public health and the planet.
Where the social cost incurred from abating an externality is equal to the associated societal benefits, we identify this as being an efficient level of externality reduction. In other words, when society’s costs for reducing externalities are met by its benefit gains in doing so, we have achieved efficiency.