Issue 11 and Volume 147.

RESPONDING TO SEMICONDUCTOR FACILITIES Hazardous materials and computers may seem incongruous to most people. In reality, they are closely related. This article will take you on a tour of a typical semiconductor facility from the perspective of the many potential hazards such a facility can present for emergency responders. Semiconductor facilities generally manufacture computer chips, circuit boards, and panels. Let’s begin with the processes involved in manufacturing computer chips. Epitaxial growth. During this process, chemical vapor deposition is used to grow a thin crystal layer on a silicon wafer. The wafer is heated by radio frequency to approximately 1,500°F and exposed to hydrogen gas, which cleans and etches the wafer. Additional gases, such as trichlorosilane, arsine, and tetrachlorosilanc, are introduced to the wafer and decompose to form a layer of crystals. Diffusion. In this step, the chip is heated by radio frequency in a tube furnace w ith temperatures ranging…

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