This study established an analytical method for the trace analyses of two phthalate esters, including diethyl phthalate (DEP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), known as the major constituents of cleanroom micro-contamination detrimental to the reliability of semiconductor devices. Using thermal desorption coupled with a GC-MS system, standard tubes were prepared by delivering liquid standards pre-vaporized by a quasi-vaporizer into Tenax GR tubes for calibration. This method was capable of achieving detection limits of 0.05 μg m-3 for 0.1 m3 air samples and 0.03 ng cm -2 for 150-mm wafer surface density. Actual samples collected from a semiconductor cleanroom showed that the concentration of DBP in a polypropylene wafer box (0.45 μg m-3) was nearly four times higher than that in the cleanroom environment (0.12 μg m-3). The surface contamination of DBP was 0.67 ng cm-2 for a wafer stored in the wafer box for 24 h. Furthermore, among the three types of heat-resistant O-ring materials tested, Kalrez® was found to be particularly suitable for high-temperature processes in semiconductor cleanrooms due to their low emissions of organic vapors. This analytical procedure should serve as an effective monitoring method for the organic micro-contamination in cleanroom environments.
- Airborne molecular contaminants
- Phthalate esters
- Surface desorption
- Wafer contamination