When you get right down to it, almost all electronic devices we use on a day-to-day basis contain semiconductors of some kind, and nitrogen is a key component in producing them. Gases have been imperative to the electronics industry since the middle of the last century, when the earliest examples of commercial transistors and circuits began being produced on a large scale. Today, several factors are driving up the consumption of gases, but the most notable is the sheer scale of deployment of semiconductor fabrication plants to meet the demands of large economies.
Gases are a desirable element in the world of tech for many reasons – they are easy to store, easy to produce on site and simple to deliver high quality nitrogen throughout the facility to multiple points of use with simple inexpensive piping. Additionally, it is easy to control gases’ chemical reactions at the molecular level. Therefore, nitrogen systems have become popular options for semiconductor manufacturing. Here are a few examples of nitrogen systems used in popular methods of semiconductor manufacturing:
- Nitrogen Membrane Generator. This is a convenient, turnkey system. It arrives at your location, built to your specs and ready for you to put online.
- PSA Nitrogen Generator. These systems effectively generate nitrogen by separating it from the oxygen in the air around you.
- Nitrogen Cylinder Filling. Filling your own nitrogen cylinders is a cost-effective way to replenish your nitrogen supply. It beats the price of bottled gas.
So, what has increased the demand for these types of semiconductor manufacturing? Quite simply, the answer is gadgets. Semiconductor manufacturers are staring down the barrel at an intense challenge, the intersection of ever-increasing demand and the need to continually lower costs. Not only are the devices we all have in our pockets more complex than ever, but there is an ever-growing trend to pack more into less. Laptops are paper-thin, and our smartphones hold a world of information in a package that can slip into the back pocket of fitted jeans. Can semiconductor manufacturing keep up? If so, nitrogen generators are a large part of the equation.
To meet the demands of a society that is increasingly dependent upon smartphones, semiconductor manufacturers have been using nitrogen inertion. Whether in the fabrication of stacked dies, rework, or component solder bumping, nitrogen gas allows a larger process window in the safety of minimal oxygen. As mandated, lead-free soldering has emerged; the combination of flux chemistry aggressiveness and the smaller Delta T temperature window has allowed N2 inerting to boost production success. Controlled nitrogen atmospheres in reflow, wave, selective, and rework applications give engineers a larger process arena to work in. Nitrogen also helps during the liquidous state while the solder is completing surface wetting for a good bond.
As we rely more on smartphones, the demand will continue to increase for this form of manufacturing. At On Site Gas, we strive to supply on-site nitrogen with the utmost safety and forward-thinking innovation to stay at the forefront of a rapidly digitizing world. If you’re interested in how on-site nitrogen can be used for semiconductor manufacturing, contact us today to learn more.