Microcontamination Sensor for VLSI Semiconductor Manufacturing

Period of Performance: 01/01/1998 - 12/31/1998


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

LOS Gatos Research
Mountain View, CA 94041
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue Mail stop: 306-17
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Institution POC


A ppb- and sub-ppb-level water vapor microcontarnination sensor is critically needed in semiconductor industry, where trace concentrations of water vapor in highly reactive gases used in Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) manufacturing decrease significantly the yield of IC chips produced. We propose to develop a novel optical microsensor , capable of reaching the required ultra-high detection sensitivity in a package suitable for use in industrial environments. In Phase I we have demonstrated the feasibility of producing a room-temperature, diode laser-based middle-infrared source and we have used it for sensitive frequency-modulation spectroscopy of water vapor. During Phase I we have also formed a partnership with an instrument manufacturer, who will contribute matching funds for Phase II project, and who will manufacture the instrument in Phase III. The sensor proposed here will be at least an order of magnitude more sensitive than existing optical gas sensors and will be commercially applicable in industrial process control, medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.