Legit Memory Reviews
Inside Intel and Micron's 25nm NAND Fab - IMFT
|Product:||IMFT Fab in Lehi Utah|
|Date:||Mon, Feb 01, 2010 - 08:00 AM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
Inside The Lehi Utah Fab
No press has ever been allowed into this plant to see the actual manufacturing process as those let inside would see what type of equipment is being used and, of course, increase the risk of contamination. Legit Reviews had the privilege of being only one of a just dozen press and analysts chosen to be let into this facility.
IMFT made us empty our pockets out and put on a 'bunny suit' in order to
go into the Fab. This means we were not allowed to bring our own camera
inside, but they did provide a number of pictures they took of
the inside of the facility recently. We present some of those shots to show you what we saw inside during our tour of the Lehi, Utah facility.
The hallway might not have that many people in it, but the automated
material handling system (AMHS) is constantly moving overhead and can
reach speeds of up to 8 miles per hour. The system moves the wafers
around the fab 24/7 and is the first place our eyes went when we walked
in the door. Our tour guide wasn't sure how many feet of track are in the facility, but after walking around it was clear to use that it would be miles long if laid out in a straight line. Each transporter is numbered and the highest number we saw was just under 200. Each of the 200 transporters can carry a single front-opening unified pod (aka FOUP). The FOUP contains up to 25 300mm semiconductor wafers. That means at any given time 5,000 wafers are racing around the fab, not to mention the numerous FOUPs that are in use or waiting in a queue.
The is a picture of the dry etch hallway inside the IMFT fab. Take notice that all floor tiles have penetration holes provided at for discharging air supplied to the clean room. All of the floors in the facility were like this.
The above is a shot from the hallway where the wet process process fabrication area is located. Our tour guide explained to us that most of the people we saw in the fab working were technicians conducting preventive maintenance and ensuring the equipment operated properly. With so many machines running 24/7 it makes sense that hundreds of workers would be on hand making sure everything is okay and if something breaks that they can get it repaired and back online quickly. The plant has only come to a complete stop once during a prolonged power outage that lasted longer than the battery backup could last. What could knock a multi-billion dollar facility like this down? It was a hang glider that fatally ran into some power lines. Due to the tragic accident the power grid was shut down and the plant ended up losing power. Other than that, the facility has been up and running problem free.
This is a look down the Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) corridor. This is a polishing technique used in semiconductor fabrication for planarizing a semiconductor wafer.
An engineer servicing one of the many tools in the photolithography area. This is a process that selectively removes parts of a thin film or the bulk of a substrate. Optical lithography shares some fundamental principles with photography in that, the pattern in the etching resist is created by exposing it to light, either using a projected image or an optical mask. Since light plays a critical role during this process, the lights in the room a filtered fluorescent lighting is used in photolithography cleanrooms. They contain no ultraviolet or blue light in order to avoid exposing photoresists. The spectrum of light emitted by such fixtures is a yellowish color that you can see above. Our tour guide informed us that the 25nm process is one of the first times that Intel has done immersion lithography.
A shot in the photo mask area of the reticle close-up.
Here is an engineer doing real-time defect analysis (RDA) at the fab. This engineer is in charge of defect detection, reduction and analysis. The key to their job is troubleshooting defect problems to identify and eliminate defect sources.
A 300mm wafer inside a FOUP during the manufacturing process.
The IMFT fab tour was amazing and gave us a better understanding of how NAND is made. The entire campus was clean, well managed and staffed by a team of engineers like the one shown above in the wet process plenum.
Next Page - Sub-25nm Process Technology
Page 1 - IMFT Lehi Utah Fab Tour
Page 2 - Inside The Lehi Utah Fab
Page 3 - Sub-25nm Process Technology