The global landscape of industrial gases encompasses a broad spectrum, with specialty gases emerging as crucial players in various industries. Among these, semiconductor gases play a pivotal role in driving innovation and advancing chip manufacturing.
Specialty Gases Overview:
Specialty Gases are at the forefront of supplying calibration gas mixtures in non-refillable cylinders, adhering to the latest international ISO standards. Unlike bulk industrial gases, Specialty Gases include rare and ultra-pure gases vital across diverse sectors such as research, semiconductor, environmental, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, and medical.
Applications of Specialty Gases:
These gases find applications across four crucial stages in semiconductor chip manufacturing. Some products are designed to chemically remove specific materials from the wafer, while others, with unique chemistries like fluorine and chlorine-based derivatives, flow into processing tools. The reliability, safety, and innovation of specialty gases significantly influence chip manufacturing success. The Specialty Gas Market Size was valued at USD 12.14 billion in 2022. It is expected to grow to USD 22.30 billion by 2030 and grow at a CAGR of 7.9% over the forecast period of 2023-2030.
Challenges and Opportunities:
The specialty gas industry faces multiple challenges, including sourcing from hundreds of raw material vendors worldwide, handling corrosive and toxic materials, and ensuring safety and quality amidst increasing demand. The surge in remote work, virtual learning, and online activities has heightened the demand for mobile devices and personal computers, adding to the challenges faced by the industry.
Innovation in Specialty Gases:
Specialty gases are not limited to semiconductor applications; they are also integral in analytical laboratories for conducting precise analyses and quality controls on raw materials and industrial emissions. The industry continually innovates to meet the demands of evolving technologies like AI, AR, IoT, VR, automotive, and aerospace applications.
The semiconductor industry, experiencing immense growth, relies heavily on specialty gases for its evolution. Linde, one of the world’s largest industrial gas companies, plays a crucial role in supplying these gases for semiconductor fabrication. As the demand for electronic systems in cars rises, with expectations of them constituting 50% of the total cost by 2030, the semiconductor industry faces new challenges and opportunities.
Merck, with its specialty gas business, focuses on four pillars—Footprint, Quality, Safety, and Technology. This approach ensures a global manufacturing infrastructure, local warehousing, the largest cylinder fleet, stringent quality controls, safety standards, and technological advancements.
Use of Gases in Semiconductor Manufacturing
The semiconductor industry’s growth parallels the increasing demand for high-purity gases. Over 30 different gases are used in the complex process of producing integrated circuits, making it one of the broadest ranges in any industry.
Key Gases in Semiconductor Manufacturing:
Nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, and argon are core gases used in semiconductor manufacturing. Each plays a unique role, from protecting silicon wafers to conducting heat away from energetic processes and aiding in the reconstruction of crystal structures.
Facts on Specialty Gases:
The definition of a “specialty gas” can vary, ranging from pure gases like nitrogen to custom gas blends. Major gas manufacturers offer different grades of purity, tested for specific impurities. Specialty gases are distributed under a unique economic model where customers purchase the gas and rent the container.
As technology advances, the semiconductor industry’s reliance on specialty gases becomes more pronounced. From Autonomous Cars Industry to medical application industry, these gases play a pivotal role in shaping the future of electronics. The challenges faced by the specialty gas industry show the importance of innovation, safety, and quality in meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving technological landscape.