In today’s world, semiconductors are everywhere. In fact, just about every computerized device you come across uses a semiconductor chip to function: your car, your cell phone, and probably even your washing machine.
In August of 2022, the United States government passed the CHIPS and Science Act, which is intended to bring more semiconductor chip manufacturing to the States, rather than overseas. The government sees the value in these chips and how much we’ll rely on them to shape our future, and now they’re putting serious funding and standards behind it.
But while semiconductor chips are becoming increasingly more important and prominent in our everyday lives, they’re still difficult to manufacture. The process is very sensitive and calls for extreme quality assurance — something only a well-designed, highly controlled cleanroom can accommodate.
We’ll talk about semiconductor cleanrooms, as well as the classifications and standards they’re required to meet, below.
What Is a Semiconductor Cleanroom?
A semiconductor cleanroom is an enclosed space with controlled environmental conditions that are ideal for the manufacture and handling of various semiconductor chip components. These components include things like silicon wafers, circuit boards, etc.
Why Is a Semiconductor Cleanroom Necessary?
Semiconductors are incredibly fragile. Made from sensitive materials like pure silicon, even the tiniest speck of dust could damage them and the machines they’re used to power.
Since quality and purity are critical in maintaining the safety and effectiveness of semiconductor chip components, a highly controlled cleanroom is needed. With a cleanroom that meets the applicable standards and regulations, your facility can ensure safe and reliable semiconductor manufacturing practices for years.
A Look at Semiconductor Cleanroom Classifications and Standards
To ensure total control over the production environment, semiconductor cleanrooms must adhere to stringent quality control standards. We’ll describe some of the most common ones below. However, keep in mind that these classifications and standards can vary based on your facility’s unique processes and applications.
Semiconductor Cleanroom ISO Classification
Most semiconductor cleanrooms need to meet ISO 14644-1:2015 Class 4-6 requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the specifics of those classes:
|ISO Class||Max. Allowed Particles Per m3||Air Changes Per Hour||Airflow Velocity (ft/min)|
|Class 4||352 ≥ 0.5 μm||300-540||50-90|
|Class 5||3,520 ≥ 0.5 μm||240-480||40-80|
|Class 6||35,200 ≥ 0.5 μm||150-240||25-40|
Depending on your particular semiconductor manufacturing or handling application is, your ISO class requirement (and the requirements that come with it) could be more or less stringent.
Industry-Specific Semiconductor Cleanroom Standards
Another important thing to consider while looking at semiconductor cleanroom classifications and standards is the industry you’re in. Many industries have specific requirements for cleanroom spaces, which must be met in addition to the ISO classifications mentioned above.
Here are some examples of industry-specific semiconductor cleanrooms standards:
- ASTM standards for automotive applications
- NASA standards for aerospace applications
- USP standards for medical device applications
- cGMP/GMP standards for medical applications
If you need help figuring out which quality standards your semiconductor cleanroom must comply with, it’s always a good idea to talk to a cleanroom specialist like Starrco. We’ll listen to what your project needs are and provide the best recommendations on cleanroom design, features, and materials you’ll need to meet necessary requirements.
Build Your Semiconductor Cleanroom with Starrco
If your facility is ramping up semiconductor chip production, you’re going to need more cleanroom space. Starrco’s modular semiconductor cleanroom systems are built to precise standards, labeled, and delivered with a complete set of CAD drawing to make on-site installation quick and convenient.
To get started, give us a call at (800) 325-4259 or contact us online.