Silicon wafer annealing is a high-temperature furnace operation that can relieve stress in silicon, activate or move dopants, densify deposited or grown films, and repair implant  damage in wafer processing. It can also change film-to-film or film-to-substrate interfaces for wafers with multiple films, bonded wafers, and SOI applications.

Due to its wide range of uses, wafer annealing can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than a day. In rapid thermal processing/annealing (RTP/A) applications, the entire process is rarely longer than a few minutes, whereas to densify films or bond wafers, wafers can be in the furnace for more than a day.

SVM’s Wafer Annealing Capabilities:

  • Nitrogen Annealing: Pure nitrogen gas flows through the chamber containing the wafers. Once the chamber fills with nitrogen gas, the system is heated to ~1100°C  –1300°C for up to 4 hours. Using pure nitrogen prevents any unwanted oxide growth on the wafer surface during annealing.
  • Forming Gas Annealing: This process is the same as nitrogen annealing. Instead of pure nitrogen, the forming gas anneal uses a mixture of between ~90% – 96% nitrogen and ~4% – 10% hydrogen. The gas gets this mixture by thermally cracking ammonia. Using ammonia allows for more precise control of hydrogen concentration within the forming gas.
  • Rapid Thermal Annealing: This process involves heating a single wafer at a time in order to affect its electrical properties. Wafers can be heated in order to activate dopants, change film-to-film or film-to-wafer substrate interfaces, densify deposited films, change states of grown films, repair damage from ion implantation, move dopants or drive dopants from one film into another or from a film into the wafer substrate.

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