This paper discusses the performance evaluation of a SMIF (Standard Mechanical Interface) system. A two-chamber experimental system is used with one chamber providing the test atmosphere of the cleanroom and the other providing the test atmosphere of the minienvironment. The cleanroom atmospher can be varied by adjusting the amount of particles injected into the chamber. Particle concentration ranges from 1,000/ft-3 to 10 million/ft3 can be created in the chamber to simulate different cleanroom conditions. The atmosphere of the second chamber is maintained at Class I or better equivalent by means of a self-powered ultra-low penetration air (ULPA) filter blower unit. By means of this system, the ability of the SMIF system to isolate the contaminants in the cleanroom atmosphere from the minienvironment atmosphere was measured. In addition, the particles added to the wafer during wafer cassette handling by the SMIF-Arm were also measured by a wafer scanner. The results indicate that the SMIF system tested is capable of providing extremely high isolation ratios in terms of its ability to isolate the cleanroom atmosphere from the atmosphere of the minienvironment. Isolation ratios in excess of 1 million to 1 or better have been measured. The measured particle per wafer per pass (PWP) numbers were generally around 0.02 or less for most wafers, with the average at 0.0118.

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