Nitrogen Removal

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Sub-ambient temperature adsorption module the NitroØ can remove nitrogen and other air gases from argon and other inert purge gases. This enables the recycle of purge gas used in 3D metal printing where the major contaminant is air to the recycle of ultra-high purity argon.

Why AirØ?

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Semiconductor wafer fabrication uses the same CZ process that is used for solar PV wafer fabrication however the ingots that the wafers are cut from are typically greater in diameter; 12” verses 8” specifically, and the purity requirements of the argon purge gas are two to three orders of magnitude higher i.e., impurities in the 10 to 1ppb level.

The integrity of the CZ crystal puller is high, however the dust filter, vacuum lines and vacuum pump can be flawed. A small leak in this chain can allow air to be sucked into the recycle loop and contaminate the argon, allowing impurities such as nitrogen to build up.

To combat this we developed the AirØ, a sub-ambient temperature adsorptive purification module to complement the ArgonØ and deliver 1-10ppb levels of purity. The AirØ was specifically developed to remove nitrogen, and other air gases, from the argon process return gas from an ArgonØ, and the combination offers the semiconductor wafer fabrication market an economic recycle opportunity.

Working with the ArgonØ

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The ArgonØ removes the combustive/oxidative impurities in the recovered purge exhaust gas from the process, down to at least 1ppm. The AirØ module then “polishes” the resulting gas and removes any residual nitrogen to deliver 1-10ppb level of pure gas back to the process. No other gases or refrigerants are required, and the combined system operates 24/7 with minimal user intervention.

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