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Removal of small particles on silicon wafer by laser-induced airborne plasma shock waves
1 JUNE 2001
J. M. Lee
Manufacturing Technology Group, Institute for Advanced Engineering, Yongin, P.O.B. 25, Kyunggi-Do, 449-860, Korea
K. G. Watkins
Laser Group, Department of Engineering, University of Liverpool Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GH, United Kingdom

It has been found that effective removal of small particles from silicon wafer surfaces can be achieved by laser-induced airborne plasma shock waves initiated above the surface. This process has demonstrated successfully the removal of 1 mm sized tungsten particles from the surface. Tungsten is known to be one of the most difficult particles to remove using conventional laser cleaning techniques employing direct laser irradiation onto the surface. The area cleaned by the shock waves was over ten times larger than that achieved by conventional laser cleaning. This provides an advantage in speed for cleaning large areas. The cleaning efficiency was strongly dependent on the gap distance between the laser focus ~where laser-induced sparking takes place! and the surface. The particle removal began to occur with a gap of 6 mm and the removal efficiency increased significantly with decreasing the gap resulting in a complete removal at 2 mm. The basic idea behind this new cleaning technique and how to apply it for the removal of small particles from surfaces are described. Theoretical considerations about adhesion forces of small particles on the surface and laser-induced shock wave generation are carried out to understand this process.

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