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Considering the scale of IC's using sub 50nm technology, I would think that even thought fabs are incredibly clean, there would still be a substantial amount of bacteria. Do they prove problematic in leaking current/shorting parts of the circuit?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why would you think that? \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 1 '18 at 2:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bacteria would have a tough time surviving the harsh chemicals and processes used in semiconductor fabrication. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Sep 1 '18 at 2:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about post-production phases such as circuit board assembly or end user use? I guess operational voltages and currents would cremate the bacteria-problem solved. \$\endgroup\$ – Old_Fossil Sep 1 '18 at 7:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ ", there would still be a substantial amount of bacteria." How so? Clean room conditions basically means that there's nothing able to transport "soft" matter from one part to the next touching the part of the wafer where the magic happens. And conditions are hostile enough to suppress the growth and creepage of bacterial film. \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Sep 1 '18 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well even if the bacteria would be killed, wouldn't their "corpses" be potentially problematic? \$\endgroup\$ – Michael E Sep 1 '18 at 22:07
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Semiconductor annealing got above 1000 Celsius,even solder reflow hit them above 200c.

Plus, plasma cleaning.

Don't think even superbacteria can survive that

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Even tardigrade die after 151 c. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Sep 1 '18 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the OP was worried about the bacteria surviving but rather whether they would act as a contaminant. \$\endgroup\$ – Elliot Alderson Sep 1 '18 at 12:24
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Perhaps the term "particle counter" is what you need. Smaller bacteria are one-micron spheres, and WP gives some fed. standards for various classes of cleanroom:

Wikipedia: Particle Counter: STD209E

Parts of fab take place in vacuums way below a micron, where aerosols are impossible. (Bacteria would have to form molecular beams! Or, perhaps bounce in parabolic trajectories, if surface temperatures were high enough.) I'm just speculating. I'd expect that much smaller carbon & salt nanoaerosols, and the purity of wash fluids would be a much bigger issue than keeping bouncing-ball spore particles out of your 0.01 millitorr chambers.

More speculation: bacteria stick to everything, so we wouldn't find them suspended in vac chambers. On the other hand, "weaponized" bacteria are somehow given a coat without ions or dangling bonds, so they behave more like nano-sand. From "Demon in the Fridge" book, they found that an ampuole of weaponized bacteria will "evaporate" to form a cloud of bouncing particles at roughly 100F. They don't look like smoke, more like transparent colored gas.

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