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  • Writer's pictureDavide

UV Ozone Cleaning: Perform a Pro Surface Treatment

Updated: Apr 25

Let’s take a closer look at UV-Ozone cleaning technology. It uses ultraviolet (UV) light and ozone to tackle organic contaminants on many materials. It's especially important in fields where cleanliness is key, like semiconductor production and medical device sterilization. 

This article dives into how UV-Ozone cleaning works. It compares it to other methods, like plasma cleaning, and looks at its wide use in different industries. UV-Ozone cleaning is reshaping how we think about cleanliness and hygiene in manufacturing and research.

What is UV-Ozone Cleaning

UV-Ozone cleaning is a process used primarily in the semiconductor and microfabrication industries to remove organic contaminants from the surfaces of materials. It is a highly effective and gentle cleaning method that combines two powerful elements: ultraviolet (UV) light and ozone (O3).

UV-C light, known for its germicidal properties, breaks down organic molecules on surfaces. Simultaneously, UV light's interaction with air generates ozone, a potent oxidizing agent that further decomposes organic compounds. This synergistic effect makes UV-Ozone cleaning highly efficient in removing organic contaminants from various materials like silicon wafers, glass, metals, and some plastics. 

It's quick and non-contact, reducing the risk of damaging delicate surfaces. However, its effectiveness is less pronounced on inorganic substances or heavy metal contamination, and not all materials can tolerate UV light exposure.

The Mechanics of UV-Ozone Cleaning

UV-Ozone cleaning operates on a dual-action mechanism involving ultraviolet (UV) light and ozone. Usually in a tabletop machine. In this process, UV light, particularly in the UV-C spectrum, is directed onto the surface to be cleaned. The high-energy photons of UV-C light have the capability to break down organic molecules, effectively disrupting their chemical bonds. 

The UV light also interacts with oxygen molecules in the air. This leads to the formation of ozone (O3). This further attacks the broken-down organic molecules, oxidizing them into simpler, non-harmful compounds.

Plasma Cleaning vs. UV-Ozone Cleaning

There have been lab tests that directly compare Plasma Cleaning and UV-Ozone Cleaning. Both methods are used to clean surfaces, but they have different mechanisms and effectiveness in various scenarios.

FOTAS molecules, which are contaminants, need to be removed from the surface of silicon MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) devices. Both cleaning methods are effective in removing contagions from exposed surfaces.

While UV Ozone is effective on exposed surfaces, it fails to penetrate deep occlusions, which are narrow or deep recesses or cavities in the MEMS structures. This means that UV Ozone cleaning might not be effective for intricate or deeply occluded areas. Plasma Cleaning leads to a more thorough cleaning of contaminants. Even from under geometries with relatively open designs. 

Both techniques have their pros and cons. UV Ozone is simpler and safer for surfaces but less effective in occluded areas. Plasma cleaning, while more penetrative and thorough, comes with risks of altering surface chemistry or leaving behind its own residue, necessitating careful optimization of the process parameters.

Depending on one’s needs, it would likely be best to speak directly to a team of experts such as those found right here at SCI Plasma.

What industries use UV-Ozone Cleaning?

UV-Ozone cleaning is utilized in several industries due to its effectiveness in removing organic contaminants and its environmentally friendly nature.

Semiconductor and Microelectronics Industry

Semiconductor and Microelectronics Industry is one of the primary users of UV-Ozone cleaning. In the fabrication of semiconductors and microelectronic components, surfaces must be free of organic contaminants to ensure high-quality device performance. UV-Ozone cleaning is used to prepare wafer surfaces before processes like lithography, oxidation, diffusion, and deposition.

Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Industries

Sterilization and decontamination are critical in these sectors. UV-Ozone cleaning provides a chemical-free method to sterilize equipment and surfaces, ensuring they are free of organic contaminants and pathogens. 

Optics and Precision Engineering

In the manufacturing of precision optical components, like lenses and mirrors, any surface contamination can significantly affect performance. UV-Ozone cleaning is used to remove organic films.

Research and Laboratory Settings

Scientific research often requires extremely clean conditions. Laboratories use UV-Ozone cleaning to prepare substrates and samples.

Final Thoughts

UV-Ozone cleaning is a highly effective method for removing organic contaminants from various surfaces. Its unique combination of ultraviolet (UV) light and ozone offers a powerful, dual-action cleaning mechanism, particularly beneficial in industries such as semiconductor and microelectronics, medical devices, optics, and research laboratories. 

While it excels in dealing with exposed surfaces and offers a safe, chemical-free alternative to other cleaning methods, its limitation in penetrating deeply occluded areas is noted, especially when compared to plasma cleaning.

For a deeper understanding of plasma cleaning and treatment, reach out to us today. Recognized as a leader in the plasma technology sector, SCI Plasma possesses a wealth of expertise in plasma cleaning and surface treatment systems. We’ll always ensures that you receive support and solutions meticulously aligned with your specific technological requirements.


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