Eco-Snow Systems Develops Automated Cleaning Technology for MEMS

Eco-Snow Systems, an affiliate of The Linde Group, has developed automated cleaning technology for the Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS) industry that helps reduce defect rates and increase device reliability. Eco-Snow Systems is the leading supplier of automated, carbon dioxide (CO2)-based wafer cleaning tools and processes to the semiconductor industry. Two major U.S. MEMS manufacturers have installed the Eco-Snow VersaClean[tm] system for packaging component cleaning and the Eco-Snow WaferClean[tm] system for released device level cleaning prior to wafer dicing.

“Our customers have seen the effectiveness of the Eco-Snow automated CO2 snow cleaning technology in removing contaminants on MEMS wafer caps, released devices and packaging components,” said Joe Clark, general manager, Eco-Snow Systems.

Cleaning is an essential process for MEMS applications in order to prevent device failure due to foreign material. Small particles located on MEMS devices, or within their protective packaging, are significant causes of device rejection.

“The Eco-Snow tools are a particularly good fit for the MEMS accelerometer market, since we can perform gentle to aggressive cleaning on wafers or in packaging. The all-dry process has a unique ability to remove particles from the released cantilever beams of accelerometers without removing the anti-sticktion lubricant or corrupting the device,” Clark said.

Marc Papageorge, MEMS consultant and founder of Pleasanton, California-based Semiconductor Outsourcing Solutions, which helps manufacturers source the best products for their processes, says, “The Eco-Snow tools provide an excellent solution for backend-assembly MEMS providers to remove contaminants that otherwise would have ended up sealed in the package.”

As a dry solid, CO2 snow works by transferring momentum from the snow particle to the contaminant material. The Eco-Snow technology is easy to maintain, reliable, economical and simple to integrate into front or back end production lines.

Compared with traditional wet cleaning, the Eco-Snow process is cost effective and minimizes environmental impact, as CO2 has a much lower global warming potential than the solvent cleaning alternatives.

About Eco-Snow Systems
Eco-Snow Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Linde Group. As a leading innovator of dry CO2 technology, with over 100 tools installed, Eco-Snow Systems sets the standard for quality dry process cleaning solutions. Eco-Snow, based in Livermore, California, holds over 20 U.S. patents and has R&D clean room facilities to conduct process qualification and testing for customer application development. The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company with more than 50,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide. In the 2007 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 12.3 billion (USD$18.7 billion). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based and sustainable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. For more information, see The Linde Group web site at www.linde.com

About Semiconductor Outsourcing Solutions
Semiconductor Outsourcing Solutions is a consulting service firm where technology, operations, and marketing disciplines come together. Consulting services include support material for MEMS/semiconductor companies ranging from I.C. package design through the product implementation and manufacturing phase. The company addresses a variety of assembly packaging device types including MEMS, micro-processors, ASIC, FPLD, memory, and modules used in a wide range of consumer and automotive applications.