Enabling a circular economy of semiconductor process gases through Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

M.H. Weston
NuMat Technologies,
United States

Keywords: adsorption, abatement, sustainability, semiconductor, metal-organic frameworks


Ultra high-purity electronic chemicals are vital to many processes in the microelectronics industry. For example, in plasma etching to fabricate integrated circuits, even minor impurities can cause significant defects that interfere with the process. Despite decades of engineering and research, performing the bulk separations necessary to produce ultra high-purity gases is extremely difficult or energy intensive with traditional methods, such as swing adsorption, cryogenic distillation or membrane separation. Achieving optimal purity levels requires ultra-fine tuning at a molecular level to remove persistent impurities at a part per billion (ppb), part per trillion (ppt), or even part per quadrillion (ppq) level. Now, a new class of materials, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), are bringing much needed material innovation back into the fab – enabling the semiconductor industry to take the next leap forward. At NuMat, we have tailor-engineered MOFs out of the millions of possibilities, to develop the next-generation of total-gas solutions in the fab. MOFs provide unprecedented molecular-level customization to selectively tune specific physical and chemical parameters critical for effective storage, purification, and abatement. NuMat has used Next Nine™ to successfully solve seemingly impossible separations for customers, dramatically improving the purity of electronic gases critical for the advancement of next-node technologies. As part of Next Nine™, the designed MOF material was scaled to multi-hundred kilo scale quantities, formed into an optimized shape for purification use, and then integrated into a large commercial separation system. Next Nine™ enables higher purity specifications at a cost-advantaged position. This technology also enables a circular economy with the development of advanced abatement systems in the fab allowing for vented, unused, semiconductor process gases to be captured, repurified, and reused.