Clogging monitoring and regeneration of filtration film in wafer cleaning circulation systems for semiconductor manufacturing

Tian Shiang Yang, Ting Shiang Chai, Kuo Shen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In semiconductor manufacturing processes, numerous wet processing processes are involved in etching, development, and cleaning of wafers. The liquid waste contains tiny hazardous debris and particles and must be filtered out before being recirculated or discharged. Therefore, circulation systems, with filtration films to intercept debris, are essential for those wafer cleaning tanks to maintain their normal operation. However, the filtration films eventually become clogged and thus fail after a period of service. For semiconductor fabrication applications, these films are generally expensive and the demand amount for a large-scale fab is usually huge; hence, this represents a considerable cost based on scheduled replacement. With the rapid development of Industry 4.0, instead of traditional service period–based replacement, a service condition–based replacement would be preferred. But the latter requires a good estimate of the remaining lifetime of the filter in use, and effective strategies for cleaning the filter during periodic maintenance to prolong its lifetime for reducing the investment cost. In this work, the abovementioned goals are analyzed and demonstrated by constructing a scaled-down liquid filtration apparatus as the main carrier to monitor the filter’s flow resistance characteristics with time for seeking the optimal filter replacement moment, and for testing the effectiveness of various filtration film cleaning strategies. It is found that filtration film clogging generally is caused by “complete blocking” first, and then by “cake filtration.” Also, reverse-flow cleaning appears to be effective for reducing cake filtration, but much less so for complete blocking. Moreover, a demonstration shows that when the flow rate of the cleaning fluid is periodically varied by use of an electromagnetically actuated valve, the efficiency of filtration film cleaning could be improved by a factor of 2, and the enhancement becomes more profound as the frequency of flow rate oscillation increases. It is believed that the presented analysis and experimental demonstration would be very helpful for cost and waste management of IC foundries in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3709-3720
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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