Monitoring Toxic semiconductor gases with a portable FTIR gas analyzer
The analytical technique of fourier transform infrared (FTIR) gas analysis has been traditionally limited to either a laboratory or a fixed/ permanent installation. Pioneered by Dr. Albert A. Michelson in the 1890’s with his development of the interferometer which involves moving a finely balanced mirror to generate an interferogram and combined with the complex computations (fourier transformation) requiring a powerful computer this analytical technique while recognized and widely used for accuracy and rapid multi-component gas analysis was disregarded as a field technique. Develops in optical engineering and the advent of ever faster and faster computer processing chips have further refined FTIR so the powerful analytical technique once reserved for the laboratory is now available for plant safety personnel, emergency responders and engineers to use a portable FTIR for various applications including further understanding the processes, tightening the controls on their processes through improved quality control, reducing losses and environmental discharges. A new generation portable FTIR gas analyzer worn on the user’s back or carried over their shoulder brings new monitoring opportunities to the semiconductor industry. Providing emergency responders with a powerful tool to identify and quantify “unknown” toxic gases within minutes of arriving at the incident site means decisions and directives can be issued so protecting people and plant in an expeditious fashion. For safety officers, one tool to check leaking cylinders from the many toxic gases sorted on site ranging from Silanes, hydrogen chloride, phosphine, arsine, PFC’s, hydrogen fluoride, SO2, ammonia, diborane and hydrogen bromide provides a powerful and time saving means to protect personnel from toxic gas exposure and prevent expensive product losses. Measuring GHG’s escaping in process ducts and plant emission stacks by moving a portable FTIR analyzer and sampling system around to the various sources provides environmental engineers a near-real time picture on how tight their controls and scavenging systems are operating. This paper presents a new generation of analytical capabilities that is available for semiconductor safety and process engineers to measure multiple toxic gases in near real-time in the their work place environment.