Summary
A cleanroom or clean room is an engineered space, which maintains a very low concentration of airborne particulates. It is well isolated, well-controlled from contamination, and actively cleansed. Such rooms are commonly needed for scientific research, and in industrial production for all nanoscale processes, such as semiconductor manufacturing. A cleanroom is designed to keep everything from dust, to airborne organisms, or vaporised particles, away from it, and so from whatever material is being handled inside it. A cleanroom can also prevent the escape of materials. This is often the primary aim in hazardous biology and nuclear work, in pharmaceutics and in virology. Cleanrooms typically come with a cleanliness level quantified by the number of particles per cubic meter at a predetermined molecule measure. The ambient outdoor air in a typical urban area contains 35,000,000 particles for each cubic meter in the size range 0.5 μm and bigger, equivalent to an ISO 9 certified cleanroom. By comparison an ISO 14644-1 level 1 certified cleanroom permits no particles in that size range, and just 12 particles for each cubic meter of 0.3 μm and smaller. Semiconductor facilities often get by with level 7 or 5, while level 1 facilities are exceedingly rare. The modern cleanroom was invented by American physicist Willis Whitfield. As employee of the Sandia National Laboratories, Whitfield created the initial plans for the cleanroom in 1960. Prior to Whitfield's invention, earlier cleanrooms often had problems with particles and unpredictable airflows. Whitfield designed his cleanroom with a constant, highly filtered air flow to flush out impurities. Within a few years of its invention in the 1960s, Whitfield's modern cleanroom had generated more than US50billioninsalesworldwide(approximately50 billion in sales worldwide (approximately billion today). The majority of the integrated circuit manufacturing facilities in Silicon Valley were made by three companies: MicroAire, PureAire, and Key Plastics.
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