The term semiconductor generally refers to a material that has conductive properties between conductor and insulator. This allows it to act as either an insulator or a conductor, depending on the circumstances. In a nanotechnology context, the semiconductor field relates to the production of and research into microprocessors to power computing devices.
The first semiconductors were used in the 1800s in radios. The application of semiconductor materials to computing became clear as their properties have become better understood. The first microprocessors were born when transistors were added to semiconductor chips.
Since the 1970s, when the first microprocessors were introduced, the race has been on to pack increasing numbers of transistors into a smaller area and so increase the processing power of the microchip. Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a chip will double every two years and this embodies a drive for innovation. Amazingly, the predictive power of Moore’s Law has held up since 1965 when it was first articulated.
High power computers and even smaller computing devices have been the result of a massive increase in processing speed. The drive to innovate will only become more powerful as the global market for computing devices increases.
- Probe Station
- Wire Bond
- Pull Testing
Research and production of semiconductor applications involve processes which operate at extremely high levels of precision on very small scales. Unsurprisingly, these processes exhibit sensitivity to environmental noise and even normal levels of building acoustic and vibration noise can disrupt these sensitive measurements.
A lot of semiconductor testing also involves gaging the conductivity of materials which makes these processes sensitive to ambient levels of electromagnetic interference (EMI). Thermal fluctuation can also affect semiconductors and this is another source of potential error.
For many semiconductor applications it can be hard to attain a quiet environment. Therefore, a lot of research, development and product testing takes place in a clean room which is a space designed to minimize particulate contamination. However, clean rooms incorporate raised floors and air handling equipment, and this can increase ambient levels of noise due to vibrations, air currents and acoustic noise. Another source of noise can be semiconductor process equipment, as it incorporates water flow, moving parts and pumps.
Prior to the installation of a sensitive instrument, it is recommended to survey the site with EMI, acoustic, and vibration measurement equipment to determine the best location. To mitigate the effect of noise the employment of acoustic enclosures, EMI cancellation systems, and vibration isolation systems may be required.
Without Vibration Isolation
With Passive Vibration Isolation
With Active Vibration Isolation
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Herzan.
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