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SEMI-KLEEN Quartz downstream RF plasma cleaner

SEMI-KLEEN Quartz is a remote plasma cleaner designed to meet the rigorous requirements of the semiconductor industry. It can be used on the following instruments: electron beam review systems (EBR), electron beam inspection systems (EBI) CD-SEM, electron beam lithography systems, EUV lithography (EUVL) and EUV mask inspectors.

For applications where NF3, CF4 type corrosive gases are to be used, we would recommend the SEMI-KLEEN Sapphire.


  • Dual stage particle filtering technology – removes almost all the particles larger than 3nm
  • Low particulate, high reliability plasma source design technology for semiconductor industry
  • Option to support automatic RF impedance matching
  • Instant plasma ignition at extremely low pressures – guaranteed plasma ignition
  • Electronic gas flow with pressure sensor feedback control – user can directly control the pressure
  • Plasma probe monitoring of plasma strength – guides user to set up optimal recipes
  • 75W RF power at 13.56MHz – optimum for these application
  • Microcomputer control with touchscreen user interface – ease of use, reproducibility
  • Remote PC control through RS232/RS485 – intuitive user interface
  • 60 customisable recipes
  • Active fan cooling – high power, high speed cleaning
  • Over temperature interlock – system protection
  • Two year warranty
SEMI-KLEEN plasma cleaner, standard configuration

Compact, downstream plasma cleaner

SEMI-KLEEN Quartz integrates the latest plasma source design technologies to reduce particle generation risk. The low particulate capability of the SEMI-KLEEN Quartz has been qualified by semiconductor equipment manufacturers and will significantly out perform other instruments on the market. It also includes all features from the EM-KLEEN plasma cleaner, including pressure sensor, automatic gas flow controller, plasma strength sensor, temperature sensor, cooling fan and LCD touchscreen controller.

SEMI-KLEEN Quartz uses a high purity quartz tube with external antennas to generate air, O2, Ar + O2, H2 and Ar + H2 plasmas at low pressures. This proprietary antenna design reduces plasma potential, thus minimising ion sputtering in the source chamber. Chamber materials used in the SEMI-KLEEN Quartz have been carefully selected to withstand plasma etching. Combined with proprietary dual-stage particle filtering technology, the SEMI-KLEEN Quartz plasma cleaner can exceed the most stringent requirements for PWP (particles per wafer pass) needed by customers such as Intel, Samsung and TSMC.

For use with reactive gases please see SEMI-KLEEN Sapphire.


Application example

SEM specimen cleaning before (left) and after (right) a six-minute plasma clean. Note the absence of hydrocarbon burn marks in the subsequent scan.

Upgrade of SEMI-KLEEN to UHV compatibility

Option PIE-SEMI106 upgrades the standard SEMI-KLEEN for use with UVH systems. This consists of a quartz glass tube brazed to the stainless-steel flange, CF2.75″ front flange and a 1/4″ VCR gas connector on the rear of the instrument. There is no internal pressure sensor or internal gas flow controller.

For other instruments in the PIE Scientific KLEEN range and for Tergeo bench top plasma cleaners please see here: KLEEN & Tergeo.

For other instruments in the PIE Scientific KLEEN range and for Tergeo bench top plasma cleaners please see here: KLEEN & Tergeo.

PIE-SEM101. Upgrade to CF2.75″ flange
PIE-SEM102. Rack mounted controller
PIE-SEM103. 3nm particle filter
PIE-SEM104. Upgrade to SEMI-KLEEN Sapphire
PIE-SEMI105. Upgrade to 150W RF power supply


SEMI-KLEEN plasma cleaner

  • Tabletop controller with embedded microcomputer and LCD touchscreen user interface
  • Low particle source design, qualified for semiconductor application where PWP is a concern.
  • PC remote control software with intuitive user interface
  • 60-recipe support in microcontroller
  • 75W RF power supply with fixed RF impedance matching
  • Plasma sensor for plasma strength monitor
  • Electronic gas flow control with pressure sensor feedback control                           
  • Smart-Schedule feature for automatic cleaning
  • Intelligent safe and expert operation mode 15 feet high-quality, high-power RF cable; D-Sub 9 PC control cable; D-Sub 15 source control cable

Definition of an RF plasma

A radio frequency (RF) plasma is an ionised gas phase substance that consists of ions, electrons, and neutral atoms and/or molecules that grossly maintain charge neutrality. Electrons and ions should be close enough so that each of them can influence many nearby charged particles within a radius called the Debye screening length. As a result, charged particles in the RF plasma respond collectively to external electromagnetic fields. With a high density of free-moving ions and electrons, plasma is highly electrically conductive. With the exception of boundary regions between the plasma and electrodes, a plasma contains the same amount of positive and negative charges. There is no space charge within the bulk of the plasma.

Plasma sheath

Electron temperature is usually equal to or higher than that of ions. Since electrons are much lighter than ions, they can escape from a plasma at a much faster speed than ions, providing there is no confining potential barrier. Once electrons are nearly depleted from the boundary interface between the plasma and electrodes or specimen, a region with only positive ions and neutrals will be formed. This usually dark boundary region is called plasma sheath. Positive charges in the plasma sheath can push more ions to diffuse out of the plasma. It also creates a potential barrier to prevent electrons from diffusing out of the plasma. Eventually, the loss rate of electrons and ions will reach an equilibrium state. The plasma sheath also creates a positive plasma potential with respect to the grounded chamber walls. The voltage drop across the plasma sheath can accelerate ions and create an ion sputtering effect in many applications.

How an RF plasma is generated

Electrons and ions in plasmas can disappear through diffusion or recombination. To sustain a stable RF plasma, external excitation is required to create more electrons and ions so that their creation rate can reach a balance with the loss rate. Most RF plasma generation methods rely on heating free electrons to high enough energy to break down neutral atoms or molecules into ions and electrons.

PIE Scientific specialise  in developing advanced plasma systems for plasma etching, cleaning, surface treatment, ion and electron beam production applications. The company was founded by alumni of the Plasma and Ion Source Technology group in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. After 15 years of experience in developing advanced semiconductor capital equipment in Silicon Valley, they realized that many existing low-cost plasma cleaners and plasma treatment systems were still using decades-old technology. Therefore, they decided to bring state-of-the-art plasma technology developed for the semiconductor industry and nuclear research into affordable plasma instruments. Their SmartClean™ technology has been well-received by customers.

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