The semiconductor industry has exacting environmental and production standards for semiconductor products like wafers and microchips. Such standards can be difficult to achieve given the amount of extremely corrosive chemicals that equipment like wet benches and work stations must be exposed to in the manufacturing process. Plastic for semiconductors helps maintain high standards of purity during semiconductor production, ensuring that less time and resources are wasted and that electronics function exactly as they were designed to.
What Makes Plastic for Semiconductors the Right Choice?
To understand why plastic for semiconductors and semiconductor production is the optimal choice, it's first important to know the type of facility semiconductors are made in. These facilities, called "fabs," are contained within a larger manufacturing facility. In the center of a fab is a clean room, which is a carefully controlled environment where the smallest and most delicate semiconductor parts are created. Having multiple layers of protection from the outside world helps limit contaminants and conditions like dust and static electricity that could completely ruin a microchip or integrated circuit (IC).
To help maintain these highly specific conditions, plastic is frequently used in semiconductor building equipment like wet benches, IC chip carriers, filtration elements and more. Plastic for semiconductors offers many benefits over traditional materials like metal and ceramic.
The biggest advantage plastic for semiconductors has over traditional materials is its chemical resistance properties. Wet benches, for example, are regularly exposed to extremely corrosive chemicals like nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid and ozone during processes like acid etching and chemical rinsing and drying. If metals were exposed to these sorts of conditions, they would corrode and cause contamination and semiconductor failure by shedding particulates into the clean manufacturing zone.
Outgassing is the process of a product releasing chemicals into the environment due to certain factors like temperature and humidity. Outgassing can be harmful to both semiconductor products and people. While certain kinds of plastic like PVC have high rates of outgassing (at least while they're new), common semiconductor plastics like HDPE and polycarbonate have low outgassing characteristics in vacuum-sealed spaces. That makes them ideal for a highly controlled environment like a fab clean room!
Minimizing static electricity is one of the key functions of a clean room, since a single wayward shock can destroy the delicate circuitry of an IC chip. Plastic for semiconductors helps dissipate static electricity, grounding any charges that might spark and ruin sensitive items.
High Performance in Extreme Heat & Flame-Retardant
Certain elements of semiconductor production involve high levels of heat that might set other materials ablaze. Plastic for semiconductors performs well in these extreme temperatures and is nonflammable, ensuring accidents due to fire are less likely to occur within your facility's clean room.
Creating and maintaining a clean room and fab facility costs a great deal of money. Choosing plastic for the equipment, filtration systems and tools used in your clean room is one of the most cost-effective options available in the semiconductor industry.
Continue Learning About the Semiconductor Industry at A&C Plastics
There are many other reasons why plastic is a great fit for the semiconductor industry — and many that might make it the perfect choice for your next project. Learn more about plastic for semiconductors and an incredibly wide range of other industries at A&C Plastics, or contact us today for assistance or to request a quote.