Semiconductor Glossary, Developed Semi OneSource.
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With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.












Including some 500 new terms defined and remaining terms updated and modified, a 2nd edition book version of this glossary is now available.


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Term (Index) Definition
cleaning  process of removing contaminants (particles as well as metallic and organic) from the surface of the wafer; can be implemented using liquid chemicals (wet cleaning) of gases (dry cleaning).

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
dry cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the gas-phase; driven by either conversion of contaminant into volatile compound through chemical reaction, or its "knocking" off the surface via momentum transfer, or lift-off during slight etching of contaminated surface.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
contaminant  alien element or specie from the medium in contact with semiconductor (e.g. process gases, liquids, clean room air, etc.) which may penetrate semiconductor or adhere to its surface and which adversely affect characteristics/performance of the processed device; the most common types of contaminants in semiconductor processing: particles, organic contaminants, and metallic contaminants.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
metallic contaminant  atoms of metals deposited on the Si surface during device processing as a reult of process malfunction; common metallic contaminants: Fe, Al, Cu, Ca, Na; originate from process chemicals, ambient, and tools; major reliability problem; should not be allowed on Si surface in concentrations above 109 cm-2; designated cleans are applied to remove metallic contaminants from the surface.
organic contaminant  in semiconductor processing mainly hydrocarbons from resist/etching processes, ambient air, storage environment, shipping boxes, etc.; if not controlled may cause reliability problems in MOS devices as well as have an adverse effect on the characteristics of metal-semiconductor contacts and epitaxial layers; removal accomplished using strongly oxidizing ambient both wet and dry.
particle  pieces of various materials (dust, ultra-small chips of silicon or silica, skin flakes, colonies of bacteria, etc.) present in the process environment; even ultra-small particles(<0.1 micrometer) on the Si surface may cause catastrophic damage; no effort is spared to prevent particle contamination (clean-room technology); most commonly particles are removed by an APM clean.
wet cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the liquid-phase; prevailing cleaning method in semiconductor manufacturing; wet cleaning chemistries are selected to form soluble compounds of surface contaminants; often enhanced by megasonic agitation; always followed by deionized water rinse and dry cycle.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
supercritical fluid  state of matter into which gases and liquids are converted at elevated temperature and high pressure; supercritical fluid has characteristic of both liquid and a gas; it lacks any surface tension while interacting with solid surfaces, and hence, can readily penetrates high aspect ratio geometrical features; it has very low viscosity and, like a liquid, easily dissolves large quantities of other chemicals; in semiconductor processing used in surface cleaning when penetration of very tight geometrical features is required; typically supercritical CO2 is used as carrier of cleaning agents.
Term (Index) Definition
dry cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the gas-phase; driven by either conversion of contaminant into volatile compound through chemical reaction, or its "knocking" off the surface via momentum transfer, or lift-off during slight etching of contaminated surface.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
cryogenic aerosol  high velocity frozen particles of inert gas such as CO2 or Ar; used to remove particles from the wafer surface.
UV/Cl2  UV irradiation of Si surface in Cl2 ambient at the reduced pressure and wafer temperature not exceeding 200 oC; part of silicon dry cleaning scheme; results in volatilization of several metallic contaminants of Si surface and slight etching of silicon.
Term (Index) Definition
immersion cleaning  cleaning process in which wafers and cassette are completely immersed in cleaning solutions; as opposed to, for instance, spray cleaning or spin cleaning.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
wet bench  typically fully automatic process tool used to carry out wet cleaning and etching operations in semiconductor processing; commonly includes several tanks each containing either cleaning/etching solution or deionized rinsing water in which wafers are immersed in predetermined sequence; typically includes also drying module.

Reference: Akrion, Inc. SemiOneSource,Notes
spin cleaning  so-called "dynamic cleaning"; wafer rotated at high rpm's is subjected to interactions with cleaning solutions and DI water; single wafer process.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
spray cleaning  batch wet cleaning process in which processed wafers are sprayed with cleaning chemicals and then rinsing water; alternative to immersion cleaning, spin cleaning, etc.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes, SN-17
Term (Index) Definition
lamp cleaning  brief exposure of semiconductor wafer to halogen-quartz lamp illumination in oxygen containing ambient for the purpose of increasing wafer temperature up to 300 oC resulting in volatilization of surface organic contaminants.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
organic contaminant  in semiconductor processing mainly hydrocarbons from resist/etching processes, ambient air, storage environment, shipping boxes, etc.; if not controlled may cause reliability problems in MOS devices as well as have an adverse effect on the characteristics of metal-semiconductor contacts and epitaxial layers; removal accomplished using strongly oxidizing ambient both wet and dry.
RTC  Rapid Thermal Cleaning; brief increase of wafer temperature for a purpose of volatilization of surface contaminants, (primarily organics)and moisture; typically carried out at temperatures below 300 o in oxidizing ambient, e.g. air, at atmospheric pressure.
Term (Index) Definition
megasonic cleaning  wafer cleaning process which uses sonic waves generated in cleaning solution to increase efficiency of particle removal process.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
APM  Ammonia hydroxide-hydrogen Peroxide-water Mixture; typically 0.25:1:5; same as SC1 and RCA-1; cleaning solution used primarily to remove particles from the surface; also capable of removing surface organics; strong solutions can etch/roughen silicon surface; forms chemical oxide (hydrophylic surface)on Si surface; applied at temperature between 40 oC and 70 oC; typically combined with megasonic agitation.
megasonic agitation, megasonic scrubbing  used to enhance particle removal from wafer surface by sonic pressure; megasonic energy at the frequency in 500-1000 kHz range is applied to the liquid (typically APM cleaning solution) in which wafers are immersed; more effective and less potentially damaging to the wafer (reduced cavitation) than ultrasonic agitation; standard feature in the immersion cleaning tools.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
wet bench  typically fully automatic process tool used to carry out wet cleaning and etching operations in semiconductor processing; commonly includes several tanks each containing either cleaning/etching solution or deionized rinsing water in which wafers are immersed in predetermined sequence; typically includes also drying module.

Reference: Akrion, Inc. SemiOneSource,Notes
particle removal  process designed to remove particles from the wafer surface; carried out using wet cleaning (APM) with megasonic agitation; particle removal in the gas phase is less effective.
Term (Index) Definition
post-CMP cleaning  particularly demanding cleaning routine needed to remove products of CMP process; wet cleaning involving mechanical interactions (brush scribbing).
brush scrubbing  cleaning of semiconductor surfaces using rotating brushes; used to remove heavy residues which cannot be removed without mechanical interactions; used in post-CMP wafer cleaning.
slurry  a liquid containing suspended abrasive component; used for lapping, polishing and grinding of solid surfaces; key element of CMP processes.
wet cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the liquid-phase; prevailing cleaning method in semiconductor manufacturing; wet cleaning chemistries are selected to form soluble compounds of surface contaminants; often enhanced by megasonic agitation; always followed by deionized water rinse and dry cycle.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
Term (Index) Definition
single-wafer cleaning  one wafer is subjected to cleaning at the time; reflects growing general trend toward single-wafer processing.
cleaning  process of removing contaminants (particles as well as metallic and organic) from the surface of the wafer; can be implemented using liquid chemicals (wet cleaning) of gases (dry cleaning).

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
spin cleaning  so-called "dynamic cleaning"; wafer rotated at high rpm's is subjected to interactions with cleaning solutions and DI water; single wafer process.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
immersion cleaning  cleaning process in which wafers and cassette are completely immersed in cleaning solutions; as opposed to, for instance, spray cleaning or spin cleaning.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
Term (Index) Definition
spin cleaning  so-called "dynamic cleaning"; wafer rotated at high rpm's is subjected to interactions with cleaning solutions and DI water; single wafer process.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
immersion cleaning  cleaning process in which wafers and cassette are completely immersed in cleaning solutions; as opposed to, for instance, spray cleaning or spin cleaning.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
spray cleaning  batch wet cleaning process in which processed wafers are sprayed with cleaning chemicals and then rinsing water; alternative to immersion cleaning, spin cleaning, etc.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes, SN-17
Term (Index) Definition
spray cleaning  batch wet cleaning process in which processed wafers are sprayed with cleaning chemicals and then rinsing water; alternative to immersion cleaning, spin cleaning, etc.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes, SN-17
spin cleaning  so-called "dynamic cleaning"; wafer rotated at high rpm's is subjected to interactions with cleaning solutions and DI water; single wafer process.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
immersion cleaning  cleaning process in which wafers and cassette are completely immersed in cleaning solutions; as opposed to, for instance, spray cleaning or spin cleaning.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
Term (Index) Definition
supercritical cleaning  surface cleaning technique which uses supercritical fluid as a cleaning agent.

Reference: SemiOneSource,Notes
supercritical fluid  state of matter into which gases and liquids are converted at elevated temperature and high pressure; supercritical fluid has characteristic of both liquid and a gas; it lacks any surface tension while interacting with solid surfaces, and hence, can readily penetrates high aspect ratio geometrical features; it has very low viscosity and, like a liquid, easily dissolves large quantities of other chemicals; in semiconductor processing used in surface cleaning when penetration of very tight geometrical features is required; typically supercritical CO2 is used as carrier of cleaning agents.
supercritical CO2 , SCCO2  gas of choice for supercritical fluid applications; critical point (transition from gas to supercritical fluid)at 31 oC and 73 atm.
Term (Index) Definition
surface cleaning  see cleaning.
cleaning  process of removing contaminants (particles as well as metallic and organic) from the surface of the wafer; can be implemented using liquid chemicals (wet cleaning) of gases (dry cleaning).

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
Term (Index) Definition
UV cleaning  dry cleaning process stimulated by UV radiation; e.g. volatilization of organic contaminants by UV/ozone exposure.
dry cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the gas-phase; driven by either conversion of contaminant into volatile compound through chemical reaction, or its "knocking" off the surface via momentum transfer, or lift-off during slight etching of contaminated surface.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
cleaning  process of removing contaminants (particles as well as metallic and organic) from the surface of the wafer; can be implemented using liquid chemicals (wet cleaning) of gases (dry cleaning).

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
UV/ozone  dry cleaning process used to remove organic contaminants from the surfaces of solids such as semiconductor wafers and masks; UV rradiation in the ambient containing oxygen generates ozone which is a very strong oxidizing agent; spectrum of UV light used should contain 185 nm and 254 nm wavelengths.
Term (Index) Definition
wet cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the liquid-phase; prevailing cleaning method in semiconductor manufacturing; wet cleaning chemistries are selected to form soluble compounds of surface contaminants; often enhanced by megasonic agitation; always followed by deionized water rinse and dry cycle.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
DHF  dilute HF; SiO2 etching solution of 49% HF in water; typical mixture: 1 part HF : 100 parts H2O.
dry cleaning  process of contaminants removal from the wafer surface in the gas-phase; driven by either conversion of contaminant into volatile compound through chemical reaction, or its "knocking" off the surface via momentum transfer, or lift-off during slight etching of contaminated surface.

Reference: See Semiconductor Notes for more information
APM  Ammonia hydroxide-hydrogen Peroxide-water Mixture; typically 0.25:1:5; same as SC1 and RCA-1; cleaning solution used primarily to remove particles from the surface; also capable of removing surface organics; strong solutions can etch/roughen silicon surface; forms chemical oxide (hydrophylic surface)on Si surface; applied at temperature between 40 oC and 70 oC; typically combined with megasonic agitation.
HPM  hydrochloric acid-hydrogen peroxide-water mixture typically 1:1:5; same as SC2 and RCA2; cleaning solution used primarily to remove metallic contaminants; gradually replaced with alternative recipes such as those involving very weak solutions of HF:HCl in water.
megasonic agitation, megasonic scrubbing  used to enhance particle removal from wafer surface by sonic pressure; megasonic energy at the frequency in 500-1000 kHz range is applied to the liquid (typically APM cleaning solution) in which wafers are immersed; more effective and less potentially damaging to the wafer (reduced cavitation) than ultrasonic agitation; standard feature in the immersion cleaning tools.

Reference: Akrion, Inc.
ozonated water  water with ozone dissolved in it to increase its oxidizing strength; commonly used in semiconductor processing to remove organic contaminants from the wafer surface.
IMEC clean  wet cleaning sequence developed at the Interuniveristy Microelectronics Center in Leuven, Belgium; includes three cleaning steps: SOM+APM+dHF/HCl with DI water rinses in between and Marangoni drying at the end.

Reference: IMEC
supercritical fluid  state of matter into which gases and liquids are converted at elevated temperature and high pressure; supercritical fluid has characteristic of both liquid and a gas; it lacks any surface tension while interacting with solid surfaces, and hence, can readily penetrates high aspect ratio geometrical features; it has very low viscosity and, like a liquid, easily dissolves large quantities of other chemicals; in semiconductor processing used in surface cleaning when penetration of very tight geometrical features is required; typically supercritical CO2 is used as carrier of cleaning agents.
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