Hydrogen in Advanced Semiconductors

Semiconductor manufacturing is an intensive process which uses large volumes of industrial gases. For this reason, semiconductor fabricators need a reliable supply of high purity nitrogen and hydrogen.

During semiconductor manufacturing nitrogen gas is used to purge reaction chambers and create an inert atmosphere. This application is so important that nitrogen is the most consumed gas in the entire semiconductor fabrication process. Hydrogen is used to a lesser degree, though still at a high volume. Hydrogen is used to prevent oxidation from occurring during the fabrication process. It also finds application as a carrier gas, delivering gaseous metals and their oxides to reaction chambers as and when required.

How is the Gas Supplied?

The majority of semiconductor fabricating plants are located next to their own dedicated gas farms, which can supply all the necessary gases for manufacturing. These factories tend to be located away from populated areas, meaning in the event of a gas leak there is a low human impact.

The picture is different for smaller manufacturers or those located in urban centers, for whom gas farms are not a feasible solution. Smaller plants require less gas and cannot build dedicated gas farms for social and economic reasons. Instead, smaller semiconductor manufacturers tend to either use delivered gas or generate their own gases on site.

Sourcing Nitrogen and Hydrogen

Operations at semiconductor manufacturers will be different depending on the manufacturer they purchase the delivered gas from, or if the gases are generated on-site.

Delivered gas requires the factory to dedicate room for the storage of the cylinders, organize the logistics of a constant gas supply, have the infrastructure in place to ensure adequate gas purities and accommodate the health and safety risks the stored canisters pose.

In contrast, on-site generation of gases provides a constant, uninterrupted supply of nitrogen or hydrogen of extremely high purity. Using on-site generation means problems associated with gas storage, delivery logistics, and health and safety are eliminated. Semiconductor manufacturers can make huge savings by switching to on-site gas generation, whilst guaranteeing a flexible and affordable supply of gas for their operations.

Gas Generators from Nel Hydrogen 

Nel Hydrogen can provide a variety of hydrogen gas generators for all types of production. Nel Hydrogen is a supplier of Alkaline water electrolyzers generating hydrogen of up to 99.999% purity, and also is a supplier of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) water electrolysers generating hydrogen of up to 99.9998% purity.


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Nel Hydrogen.

For more information on this source, please visit Nel Hydrogen.


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