Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sandia Lab Celebrates Inventor of the Modern Clean Room

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the missed-a-spot dept.

Government 42

coondoggie writes "Sandia National Laboratories physicist Willis Whitfield, 92, passed away earlier this month and left a technological legacy that continues to reverberate today: The legendary clean room. The original laminar-flow 10 x 6 clean room developed 50 years ago by Whitfield was more than 1,000 times cleaner than any cleanrooms used at the time and ultimately revolutionized microelectronics, healthcare and manufacturing development. According to Sandia, with slight modifications, it is still the clean room standard today."

cancel ×

42 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Clean Rooms? (4, Funny)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about 2 years ago | (#42103235)

You'll find no Sandia-derived technology in MY house, I can assure you.

Re:Clean Rooms? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42103319)

You'll find no Sandia-derived technology in MY house, I can assure you.

nor in my mom's basement...

Re:Clean Rooms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103489)

TIL that NIMB = not in mom's basement

Re:NIMB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103765)

... is a luxury boutique hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Re:Clean Rooms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104131)

We already checked your mom's "basement", and indeed it's no longer "clean".

Re:Clean Rooms? (2)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 2 years ago | (#42103355)

Well some of it is pretty cool: the Sandia cooler [sandia.gov]

Btw. anyone know what happened to above tech? Seemed very promising, has been a while since announced, but so far I haven't seen any commercial products built around this...?

Re:Clean Rooms? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42106559)

Well some of it is pretty cool: the Sandia cooler

Btw. anyone know what happened to above tech? Seemed very promising, has been a while since announced, but so far I haven't seen any commercial products built around this...?

Probably very small very niche market. It sounds like a great heatsink and fan combination, but considering you can get them quite cheaply nowadays, licensing this technology doesn't appear to get you much over a traditional heatsink and fan. At least not for commodity PCs and such.

I'm sure there's a niche somewhere where people will pay $100 or $200 for it, but the PC market is not it. Heck, even the popular overclocking websites haven't done many heatsink/fan reviews as they once did with all the big names releasing new heatsinks and fans practically daily. After all, there's very little reason to do so nowadays other than kicks.

Re:Clean Rooms? (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | about 2 years ago | (#42103421)

You will after a nuclear war.

Re:Clean Rooms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103449)

I'll grant that fallout is a technological artifact, but can you actually call it technology?

Re:Clean Rooms? (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | about 2 years ago | (#42103779)

I meant that Sandia technology has a higher potential to impact his life than he thinks.

Re:Clean Rooms? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#42106215)

Ditto in my home, especially my rooms with computers. My parents think I am a dust magnet with them. :( Is there a home version of a clean room technology? Air filters don't seem to work.

10x6 what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103433)

The subject says it all...

Re:10x6 what? (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 2 years ago | (#42103549)

Cubits. Probably.

Pregnancy Complications (-1, Offtopic)

healthandmedication (2755955) | about 2 years ago | (#42103447)

Pregnancy Complications http://tinyurl.com/chdrymy [tinyurl.com] ...........Find facts and information on pregnancy complications are health problems that occur during pregnancy. They can involve the mother's health, the baby's health, or both. including gestational diabetes, stretchmarks, and morning sickness.

Re:Pregnancy Complications (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#42103493)

Pregnancy Complications http://tinyurl.com/chdrymy [tinyurl.com] ...........Find facts and information on pregnancy complications are health problems that occur during pregnancy. They can involve the mother's health, the baby's health, or both. including gestational diabetes, stretchmarks, and morning sickness.

You'r spamming slashdot with this! I think you have your demographics wrong. Now if you had a product for RSI caused by too much masturbation .....

Re:Pregnancy Complications (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103511)

>Replying to spam
>Expecting the spammer to read it.

I don't know who is dumber, you or the spammer.

Re:Pregnancy Complications (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103529)

you forgot "Quoting the spammer", link and all.

Like Scandia is the only one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42103551)

They have not been the first nor best

Re:Like Scandia is the only one (1)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#42103581)

The article is suggesting that for a while at least, they were the best.

Seems credible, but I'd be interested in hearing about the alternatives.

Past Glories (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 2 years ago | (#42104299)

Ah! Those old engineers who actually invented something. Something that in some small ways forms part of the bedrock of our modern society.

I wonder what kind of bedrock our generation is giving to the future. Something tells me that iDinks and Apps are not going to be driving industry in 50 years time.

"clean" rooms (5, Interesting)

pinguwin (807635) | about 2 years ago | (#42104301)

I used to work for a company that made microchip inspection machines and they had a "clean" room. Things go so unclean that everyone in the building had to have a re-education class in clean room even if there was no chance they would ever be in one. It was that bad. People wouldn't wipe their feet, wear masks, hair covers, etc. But what I think really, really pushed management over the edge and require classes for *everyone* was people were not only eating potato chips in there but leaving the wrappers. That, was the last straw.

Headlines are gonna be dull... (2)

shine (1502) | about 2 years ago | (#42104503)

It's gonna be hard to dig any dirt on him.

Cleanrooms are obsolete (4, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#42104859)

Cleanrooms are pretty much dead technology. I work in one of the few large-scale 'real' cleanrooms left (100k+ square feet at class <10), which was built in the mid 90s.

200mm wafers were small enough for people to carry around and material handling robots were less advanced, so it made sense to make the entire fab into laminar-flow cleanroom and have people carry wafers around exposed to the air. This is obviously absurdly expensive, given the square footage of HEPA filters and sheer air-moving horsepower needed.

Now, a full lot of 300mm wafers is too heavy for a person to carry around all day, cleanliness standards are higher, and material handling robots are cheap enough to replace humans. The new fabs store all wafers in sealed plastic FOUPs which are robotically delivered to each process tool. Only the inside of the positively-pressurized process tools has to be truly clean. The big squirrel-cage VLF fans have been replaced by an array of axial fans covering the roof that can be individually tweaked and adjusted to optimize airflow and power.

Companies still pretend it's a cleanroom and force people to wear smocks out of habit, but most of them are only held to class 10,000 or so, which is cleaner than your living room but not clean enough to make wafers in, without the FOUPs.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (2)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#42104925)

I would suspect they still use clean-rooms for all sorts of other things where even the tiniest bit of dust could cause problems during manufacture (like space probes to other planets where the tiniest bit of earth dust or life could contaminate whatever planet the probe is aimed at)

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105307)

Where I work we still have a big cleanroom, just hardly any people bother to go in there.

Its robots all the way down.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (4, Interesting)

Herve5 (879674) | about 2 years ago | (#42105339)

indeed, in space technology, you definitely use cleanrooms everyday, class 10,000 or more for 'ordinary' telecom satellites, but as low as class 100 for everything optics (military or civilian).
And I can tell you, class 100, it's something.
In my factory we have a variable-class optics integration room, hundred metres sized, where a constant laminar airflow going from left to right actually separates one class-100 end, on one side, from the other end which stays 10,000 -a nice trick that allows you designer to enter the room without turning into a cosmonaut, and quietly discuss the instrument integration details with the actual cosmonaut, almost face to face, just separated by 15m of (clean) air...

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 2 years ago | (#42105097)

Cleanrooms are pretty much dead technology.

My brain surgeon begs to differ with you...

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#42105241)

As we have been discussing, there is no such thing as 'clean'. It's a matter of 'how clean'. Anyone can put up some HEPA filters and say they have a 'clean room'.

What are the cleanliness standards for brain surgery? I would be surprised if it's very high. After all, you could line up a dozen modern transistors on top of a typical bacterium.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105259)

Pharma would beg to disagree.

Really off base (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 years ago | (#42105361)

So you think cleanrooms are dead technology because the next iteration and advancement of clean room tech doesn't follow the exact same path? All you are describing is clean room compartmentalization and automation. We stand on the shoulders of giants, this new tech stands on the sholders of Willis.

Re:Really off base (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#42105605)

My point was that cleanroom technology has hit its peak and is not advancing. We will never see 250,0000 square foot class .01 cleanrooms. It is an arms race that has been abandoned for good reason.

I also think that Moore's law is dead; I don't think that means computers are obsolete now.

Re:Really off base (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 years ago | (#42106853)

Maybe so, but you kinda just ranted randomly about it like a cynic, and it came across as if you were trying to downplay the man's acheivement and the role it has served us. Fairly misplaced and poorly timed.

Re:Really off base (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#42107627)

I appreciate the critique. I am always looking for input on my internet technique, and will try to do better in the future.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105701)

Cleanrooms for FABs may be obsolete, but they are still needed and used heavily for other manufacturing, such as medical equipment.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#42106909)

That's true for production cleanrooms, but not for research cleanrooms. I think we'll see even more of the latter, in the future.

I happen to work in one of the largest research cleanrooms in the world, BTW. 28000 square feet.

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (1)

retep (108840) | about 2 years ago | (#42106947)

How is the equipment that handles the FOUPs assembled? I assume in a cleanroom, or is in-situ cleaning good enough that you can still do maintenance in a class 10,000 room then after maintenance clean the tool to the required class 10 standards?

Re:Cleanrooms are obsolete (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 2 years ago | (#42107607)

The latter. Most process tools have their own positive-pressure air purification system with their own HEPA filters constantly purging at least the small bit of atmosphere in the tool that the wafers are exposed to in between the FOUP and the process chamber. After opening the tool for maintenance you simply allow some time for it to purge and then run your best particle-check test and if it comes out clean you figure it's good. The process chamber itself, whether it's a wet process or a thermal/plasma process, typically after opening that up you have a purge/coat/in-situ clean/flush/burn-in routine that you run before running production.

It's still important for the general fab atmosphere to be controlled for temperature, humidity, and chemical contaminants (chlorine etc).

Oh, Mother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104995)

My mother would be so proud.

Clean rooms and tube tech (3, Interesting)

judoguy (534886) | about 2 years ago | (#42105103)

My father was an engineer for Western Electric and I remember him telling me many years ago about a MIG pilot that defected with the plane. Our guys were surprised to find that the advanced fighter used tubes in it's avionics. It was determined that the Soviets couldn't put together a good enough clean room to produce chips.

Re:Clean rooms and tube tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105747)

No, that's not what I read.

They used tubes because they would still function after an EMP event.

They planned to keep flying and fighting in a nuclear environment, while the more "advanced" integrated circuits would be blown out by the current induced spike.

Re:Clean rooms and tube tech (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42107291)

Something tells me its a mix of the two or at least one was used as an excuse for the other.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>