Particle control and corrosion resistance enhancement process for reaction sintering silicon carbide ring

Technology overview: reaction sintering silicon carbide is compact body manufactured by mixing silicon carbide powder and carbon and then impregnating metal Si at high temperature. Penetrated metal Si reacts to carbon and creates new reaction sintering silicon carbide, while the rest fills the remaining pores, so that almost 0% porosity product can be produced. This method is applied to large tube, boat or ring type products in semiconductor process. Reaction sintering SiC fixture has such high resistance against plasma that more usage time can be expected compared with existing silicon ring, thus it is applied to the etching process, one of the critical processes in semiconductor manufacturing. Functions required for silicon carbide ring in this application include long life cycle in plasma environment containing fluorine, substandard particle generation, and low surface impurity concentration. To solve this, development including consideration on etching tool was performed for raw material high purification, optimized final product cleaning method, and longer life cycle in fluorine constraining plasma environment. Studies were performed on drug types, cleaning methods, and degreasing methods to be used in developing product cleaning method. Also, high density can be achieved through silicon carbide powder composition adjustment by observing the etching trend of plasma in reaction sintering silicon carbide, and reducing usage time can be resulted from testing in an environment similar to actual environment. This was proven from actual final consumer environment, and the capability on silicon carbide material and quality was recognized. The application scope of developed silicon carbide ring becomes wider, the demand keeps increasing, and application to different shape of products other than rings is consistently increasing, so great economic benefits are expected.

Industrialization: Si ring consistently used in semiconductor processes is gradually substituted by reaction sintering silicon carbide rink. As a result of consistently contacting to the world’s number 1 semiconductor chip maker who has business transaction with Inocera and concentrating on new product promotion, now Inocera has about 600~800 million won of annual sales and gets favorable technical comments on product durability, therefore its sales are expected to be increasing accordingly. Now the company is widening its technical application to different shapes of fixtures other than ring shape. Also, being recognized with its technical skills, the company concluded a product supply contract with a global semiconductor equipment company, and is trying to enter the global market based on that.
Problem-solving in industrialization: Optimized cleaning method, particle measuring technique, and plasma resistance measuring techniques in the material are product element technologies required for industrialization. But entering the market was difficult in the early stage, because cleaning methods or particle measuring techniques are not commonly shared, but rather treated as companies’ know-how. Also, etching tool in the plasma environment for reaction sintering silicon carbide was an unknown field, because nobody had tried it before. But, as the company developed appropriate particle measuring method first, they can understand impact on many cleaning processes. Based on that, the company developed a nearly optimized cleaning method. Also, as the company established test etching equipment with the support of this task and observed the etching ratio of silicon carbide materials and etching tool, the company can understand optimal silicon carbide composition and solve issues through existing silicon carbide composition adjustment techniques.

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