Designers used PEEK polyaryletherketone at several strategic points in a frontopening unified pod (Foup) that handles 300-mm wafers. PEEK got the nod for its abrasion resistance, temperature stability, and low particulate qualities.

The F300 AutoPod that uses the polymer comes from Entegris Inc., Chaska, Minn. The Foup combines a wafer carrier and a pod in a single enclosure. Its carrier holds 25 wafers and the pod is hermetically sealed.

To minimize the chance of generating particulates, the housing employs PEEK wherever it must connect with different types of wafer-fab equipment. PEEK grooves on the bottom of the device position it accurately on pins from a load port. A square handle atop the device, also of PEEK, lets fingerlike grippers on a robot pick up the Foup and transport it. PEEK parts in the cassette register wafers with enough precision to permit robotic arms to lift them out. Inherent dimensional accuracy and abrasion resistance of the PEEK makes it useful in such applications, Entegris officials say.

Wafers can be hot when they hit the Foup straight out of a processing chamber. This poses no problem for the PEEK parts, which can withstand up to 300°C.

PEEK comes from Victrex USA Inc., Greenville, S.C. PEEK is a trademark referring to its brand of polyaryletherketone.