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This paper is a review of integrated processing-an approach to microelectronics fabrication in which sequential processes are linked by wafer transfer through a clean, controlled environment (e.g., high vacuum or inert gas). The approach is rapidly becoming the state of the art in microelectronics research, development, and manufacturing. In microelectronics research, it provides a means for advancing mechanistic understanding and material quality through in situ fabrication of test structures and extensive in situ diagnostics. In microelectronics development and manufacturing, it promises process simplification, improved contamination control and yield, and potentially more flexible equipment utilization. With increasing emphasis on ultraclean processing, involving control of reactive impurities as well as particles, and on real-time process monitoring and control, applications of integrated processing are moving toward a common ground in which state-of-the-art research techniques can be used to address key issues in development and manufacturing, and provide in return substantive guidelines for manufacturing design and practice.
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