Applying the LCA Methodology to Semiconductor Devices
Life Cycle Assessment is a useful tool for understanding the environmental impacts of a product from raw material extraction through disposal. Using ISO 14040 and 14044 as a basis, users of LCA find that it is a scientifically-based, fair way to evaluate how “green” a product is. In addition to aiding process engineers in finding better ways to make their products, LCA can be used for marketing and wise policy-making. Using LCA before regulations go into place can prevent costly policy that provides little if any environmental improvement. Developments in LCA data and tools have made it easier to model semiconductor devices. Macro data on semiconductors provides a benchmark and a starting point for basic data. More and more chemicals and gases are available in the databases, improving the quality and usefulness of results. Users have the ability to create modules with variable parameters for wafer starts, downtime, and film thickness for example, that can be used and reused for different layers and different devices. This enables more rapid modeling, assessment, and interpretation.