LCD Production Process May Eliminate Global Warming Effects

Process uses pure fluorine for no global warming potential and more efficiency.

LCD Production Process May Eliminate Global Warming Effects
Steve Crowe · July 18, 2008

The Linde Group now has a production process that replaces the greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) used to make LCDs and solar panels.

A recent report published in Geophysical Research Letters says this NF3 chemical in LCDs may contribute to global warming.

The Linde Group’s process replaces NF3 with pure fluorine, which has no global warming effects, the company says.

This process uses on-site generation of fluorine gas to make production of LCDs more efficient and environmentally-friendly, according to the company.

“Eliminating NF3 from LCD and solar manufacturing makes environmental and economic sense,” says Dean O’Connor, head of Solar Business, Linde Gases Division.

“Fluorine reduces non-productive cleaning time on the most expensive piece of equipment [and] improves customer throughput.”

The Linde Group says its on-site fluorine generators have been installed at more than 20 semiconductor, LCD and solar cell production sites, including LG, Samsung and Toshiba Matsushita Display.

The report in the Geophysical Research Letters says NF3 is 17,000 times stronger than carbon dioxide, calling it a “missing greenhouse gas” that could double to 8,000 metric tons in 2009.

NF3 flushes out the by-products of chemical vapor deposition used in LCD panel production.

Flat screens and computer monitors use LCD panels that are made by depositing thin layers of silicon and other materials on the chamber walls.

Those deposits are removed by splitting NF3 to release fluorine, which converts the solid silicon to a gaseous compound that is pumped away.

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