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Ultrapure water system

Ultrapure water (UPW), high-purity water or highly purified water (HPW) is water that has been purified to uncommonly stringent specifications. Ultrapure water is a commonly used term in the semiconductor industry to emphasize the fact that the water is treated to the highest levels of purity for all contaminant types, including: organic and inorganic compounds; dissolved and particulate matter; volatile and non-volatile, reactive and inert; hydrophilic and hydrophobic; and dissolved gases.

UPW and commonly used term deionized (DI) water are not the same. In addition to the fact that UPW has organic particles and dissolved gases removed, a typical UPW system has three stages: a pretreatment stage to produce purified water, a primary stage to further purify the water, and a polishing stage, the most expensive part of the treatment process.

A number of organizations and groups develop and publish standards associated with the production of UPW. For microelectronics and power, they include Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) (microelectronics and photovoltaic), American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM International) (semiconductor, power), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (power), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) (power), and International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS) (power). Pharmaceutical plants follow water quality standards as developed by pharmacopeias, of which three examples are the United States PharmacopeiaEuropean Pharmacopeia, and Japanese Pharmacopeia.

The most widely used requirements for UPW quality are documented by ASTM D5127 “Standard Guide for Ultra-Pure Water Used in the Electronics and Semiconductor Industries” and SEMI F63 “Guide for ultrapure water used in semiconductor processing”.