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Patent Pending For LCT Active Cleaning Vacuum System


Linton Crystal Technologies (LCT) has applied for a U.S. Letters Patent for an active cleaning vacuum system the company designed for silicon crystal growers. LCT designs and manufactures Czochralski (CZ) process crystal growers for clients in the solar and semiconductor industries. The company's continuously operating vacuum system will reduce or eliminate the need to manually clean growers' vacuum pipes after every growth run.

“We are always working to improve quality, efficiency and productivity in the crystal growing process,” explains John Reese, mechanical engineering manager for Linton Crystal Technologies. “The new vacuum system operates without shutting down the grower and frees up operators for more productive tasks.”

Typically, staff thoroughly clean several main vacuum pipes while the grower is shut down between every crystal growth run. These frequent and time-consuming cleanings considerably delay the start of the next growth cycle.

LCT's active cleaning vacuum system eliminates or reduces the need for manually cleaning the vacuum pipes after every growth run. It operates continuously to clean and prevent oxide accumulation within the vacuum, as well as downstream in the filter elements. A collection container enables an operator to empty oxide deposits quickly and easily between runs. Because fewer oxide particles can reach the filter system, the filter elements should also require less frequent cleaning.

“The oxides aren't left to build up on themselves in a vacuum line, so the more stubborn deposits never have the chance to form,” adds Reese. “The long, laborious process of cleaning vacuum lines is reduced to the much quicker and simpler action of emptying a container.”

Throughout the growth process, rotary cleaning brushes within the vacuum pipes continuously clean their diameter. The brushes operate at a slow enough pace to eliminate the potential for vibration in the melt. LCT designed the active cleaning vacuum system to be a standard feature of the company's 320-series CZ growers. However, it can be provided as an option or retrofit to other growers.

Linton Crystal Technologies is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of equipment for producing monocrystalline ingots for the semiconductor and solar industries. The company specializes in silicon and produces equipment for materials such as germanium and gallium arsenide. They also provide technical support, process engineering support and replacement parts to help clients get businesses off the ground, improve productivity and continue to innovate.

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