Reduction or elimination of particles generated within the semiconductor process equipment is vital to achieving high yields in the semiconductor industry. In-situ laser particle sensors that detect contaminants within the process equipment are gaining increasing acceptance because of their ability to detect problems in real-time. The prompt detection of particle problems followed by corrective actions will minimize impact to parts (wafers) sensitive to particle contamination. It is hypothesized that a relationship exists between the quantities of particles depositing on a wafer and particles detected by an in-situ particle sensor in the exhaust line. An extensive study was conducted to evaluate this hypothesis. An in-situ laser particle sensor was installed on the exhaust line of a Tungsten Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (W-LPCVD) chamber. The exhaust line particle counts were collected during the processing of device wafers and during particle tests using monitor wafers. Correlations between the ISPM counts, particles deposited on the wafer, and yields are examined. The response of the particle sensor to the periodic chamber cleans is also presented and discussed.

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