MRS Spring Meeting 2022
Invited talk

Towards Enhanced Sustainability in Future Plasma Processes


Plasma processes are a vital component of modern manufacturing, particularly for current nanometer-scale semiconductor devices and proposed next-generation technologies. [1] Increased attention among consumers on sustainability, coupled with an expanding regulatory landscape, has led to heightened scrutiny of the environmental impacts associated with such industries. [2] Thus, the pursuit of innovation in the realm of computation must be coupled with research aimed at mitigating the ecological effects of fabricating such devices at scale. We present an overview of critical areas in the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain, with a focus on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and per- and polyfluorylalkyl substances (PFAS). The use of computational methods to reduce the consumption of such compounds, as well as designing potential chemistry alternatives, is highlighted. Within this field, we discuss efforts by our group to analyze optical emission spectroscopy (OES) data collected during standard cleaning procedures to reduce HFC consumption. We also review the state of the art related to plasma treatments for PFAS abatement and propose areas where modeling and simulation may bring greatest impact to sustainable processing. As jurisdiction over the environmental aspects of operating plasma reactors typically falls under local regulations, it is imperative that the relevant specifications for such equipment remain detached from the competitive nature of proprietary development. It is therefore our hope that a joint effort from a broader industry collective would drive the establishment of effective, long-lasting solutions to these issues which can be universally applied. [1] Marchack et al., J. App. Phys 130, 080901 (2021). [2] Lachawiec, Proc. Electron. Spec. Gas Conf. (October 12-14, 2021).