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VAC 101: Introduction to Vacuum Technology

Course Description

This is a "no-math" descriptive course that focuses on the physical behavior of gases within a vacuum system and the means of producing and measuring a vacuum. The emphasis is on the use of vacuum in semiconductor process equipment. The purpose is to acquaint attendees with concepts such as the random motion of molecules in a vacuum, the sources of gas loads, and the characteristics of a well-engineered vacuum system. The discussion covers topics such as why a vacuum is needed in some processes and what limits the degree of vacuum that can be attained in real systems. Attendees are encouraged to discuss their experiences and problems with operating vacuum systems. In small classes, several exercises and simple demonstrations will be used. The basics of trouble-shooting such as recognizing and locating leaks will be addressed as well as the use of residual gas analyzers.

Who Should Attend?

This is an introductory course intended for fab operators, equipment technicians and process technicians and others who wish to understand the basics of vacuum technology with respect to vacuum-related semiconductor processes and equipment. Such processes include thin film deposition by evaporation or sputtering, plasma etching, low-pressure and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, ion implant, and reduced pressure rapid-thermal processes.

Course Length: 1 day

Course Materials: Course Notes

Instructor: Robert Waits

Course Outline

  • What is a vacuum?
  • How is a vacuum measured? Pressure units
  • Why is a vacuum needed in semiconductor processes?
  • What is inside a vacuum? Residual gases
  • Behavior of gases in a vacuum: random motion, velocity, mean-free-path, wall bombardment.
  • Vacuum conductance
  • How a vacuum is measured: Pressure gauges, residual gas analyzer
  • Making a vacuum: Pumps and pumping
  • More on conductance
  • Mechanical pumps including the turbomolecular pump
  • Diffusion pumps (if used)
  • Liquid nitrogen trap (if used)
  • Cryogenic pumps
  • Making a good vacuum: Equipment design
  • What limits the vacuum: Outgassing, permeation and leaks (real and virtual)
  • Wrap up

email C B Yarling
Phone/Fax: 512.292.9189

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