Load lock & transfer

As chip node dimensions are continuously shrinking, process chambers must remain under vacuum to prevent any particle contamination. Therefore, most of the equipment requires transfer of the wafers under vacuum.

Application requirements

  • High performance for high throughput
  • Compact for easy integration
  • Low utility cost & high reliability for low cost of ownership

How does it work?
A typical semiconductor manufacturing equipment is composed of two load lock chambers, one mainframe chamber, also called transfer chamber, and several process chambers. Wafers enter and exit the tool through the load lock chambers, which are used to change the wafer pressure conditions from atmospheric to low pressure & vice-versa. The transfer chamber allows the automated handling of the wafers between load lock and process chamber or between process chambers.

Vacuum requirements
The typical target pressure for load lock & transfer chambers is in the 10-1 to 10-2 mbar range, in such cases primary vacuum pumps are used. The main requirement is fast pump down for high throughput.

Product portfolio
Pfeiffer Vacuum was the first vacuum supplier to invent the integrated point of use pump, providing the highest performance at the smallest footprint & lowest operating costs. The A 100 L model (100 m3/h capacity) is qualified or running on many legacy platforms, while A 200 L (200 m3 /h) has been designed for the latest generation systems. Compatible for heavy cycling, A 200 L meets the highest throughput requirements.

Our Magnetically levitated ATH M or HiPace series turbopumps are qualified at major OEMs, providing high vacuum performance and low vibration.

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