Europe moves ahead in sustainable semiconductor manufacturing

Guildford, England — Leading the European electronics industry’s efforts for sustainable manufacturing of semiconductors, Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has installed Europe’s first CE-marked on-site electronics-grade fluorine (F2) generator at STMicroelectronics’ Crolles 300-mm wafer fabrication plant in France.

As part of STMicroelectronics’ initiative to lower the environmental impact of producing semiconductors, high-pressure cylinder F2 has been replaced by two new Linde Generation-F on-site fluorine generators that provide a low-pressure, fully redundant supply of high-purity F2 and eliminate the need to transport to and keep cylinders on site.

According to Linde, the fluorine generators and ancillary equipment combine proven technology with intrinsically safe design to provide STMicroelectronics with an on-demand, safe and highly reliable source of pure F2 for Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) chamber cleaning. One cylinder of hydrogen fluoride (used as the source material for the on-site generator) provides the same amount of F2 to the fab as 100 high-pressure F2 cylinders, which is said to significantly reduce maintenance workload and increase safety.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

In addition to the generators themselves, Linde’s ancillary buffer and abatement systems have also been CE-marked and SEMI S2 certified. Including those at STMicroelectronics, Linde has supplied and operates nearly 30 Generation-F systems worldwide to meet the semiconductor, display and photovoltaic industries’ chamber cleaning needs.