Compound Semiconductor Material Manufacture, Process Improvement

  • Howard R. Williams

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    IQE (Europe) Ltd. manufactures group III/V compound semiconductor material structures, using the Metal Organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy process. The manufactured ranges of semi-conducting materials are relative to discrete or multi-compound use of Gallium Arsenide or Indium Phosphide [III/V]. For MOVPE to compete in large-scale markets, the manufacturing process requires transformation into a reliable, repeatable production process. This need is identified within the process scrap percentage of the process when benchmarked against the more mature Si-CVD process.

    With this wide-ranging product base and different material systems, flexible processes and systems are essential. The negative impact however, of this demanded flexibility is a complex system, resulting in instability. Minor fluctuations in time, flow, pressure, temperature, or composition in the manufacturing process, will lead to characteristic differences in the produced material [product], when comparing the prescribed run to the actual run. The product profile changes very rapidly, correspondingly the failure profile of the process is equally as dynamic, it is essential therefore that the analysis and projected activities and actions can be identified and consolidated in a timely manner.

    This project evaluates the process used by IQEE to manufacture III/V compound semi-conducting material structures and uses the business performance to identify the process drivers. One year's [1997] business and process information is used for a single iteration of the improvement cycle. These drivers are then utilised as operators and offer the critical weaknesses in the process related to performance blockages. Some of the techniques utilised in the process evaluation and cause derivation; are original contributions specifically derived for use with a multi-platform complex process with multiple cause and effect operators. A double reporting FMEA contributes a differing rank for like machines running differing products, offering a machine specific failure profile.

    A novel composite of P-diagram and process flow techniques enables determination of activity influences confirming the key failure mechanism as previously identified by the business risk analysis. This project concludes by nominating the key failure mechanism accounting for 41% of the approximate 50% scrap figure identified again within the business risk analysis. The effects attributed to this failure mechanism are 2- dimensionally analysed utilising an original double operating FMEA, plotting effect to effect for the individual causes, offering a prioritised list of failure categories. The highest priority failure mode is addressed by an equipment design exercise, resulting in an overall 10% sales potential recontribution.
    Date of AwardAug 2002
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorHefin Rowlands (Supervisor)


    • Manufacturing processes
    • Compound semiconductor materials
    • Metal Organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy
    • MOVPE
    • Group III/V compound semiconductor material structures

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