the systems view blog

Applying our perspective to industry topics and trends

October 23, 2019

The Lifeblood of Innovation: 3 Applications that are Enabled by Pure Gas Delivery

From smartphones to life-saving medical devices, many of the innovations we leverage in our daily lives are reliant on processes that require access to high and ultra high purity (UHP) gases. As applications continue to evolve, process gas specifications naturally evolve with them; and yet, no matter how diverse the applications are, the integral role of gas purity in powering operation excellence remains consistent.

In this post, we’ll take a look at three emerging innovations in which high and ultra high purity gas delivery is critical.

Application 1: Artificial Intelligence

Production of semiconductor chips is not a new technological practice, nor is its reliance on UHP gases. For context, gases used in chip production must be pure to the one part per trillion (pptv) level, with impurities equivalent to a single grain of sand in an Olympic sized pool. When utilizing delicate bulk gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen in semiconductor fabrication, there is an acute need for reliable, UHP gas delivery systems, as trace impurity can be detrimental to chip integrity.

Over the past few years, the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has opened up new opportunities for chip providers. In fact, according to ABI Research, AI chips leveraged for edge inference and inference training applications will grow at 65 percent and 137 percent respectively between 2018 and 2023. Changing dynamics in the market have left incumbents competing with a myriad of startups who are solely focused on the growing AI chip category. These startups often leverage nontraditional processing architectures that are best suited for AI and deep learning applications.

Whether a start-up or a proven leader, keeping up with rising chip demand and complexity requires manufacturers to harness UHP gas delivery systems that are proven to uphold the most stringent purity standards in order to maximize yield. Designed specifically for the rigorous requirements of the semiconductor space, AES SEMI-GAS® equipment provides the exceedingly high levels of purity, safety, and control that are needed to support chip production’s bright and innovative future.

Application 2: Medical Device Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3D printing, has fundamentally transformed the design and prototyping process across sectors. Most recently, AM has expanded its footprint from prototyping to include larger-scale production applications. One area where AM has the ability to dramatically improve component performance while reducing production time and costs is medical device manufacturing. In particular, AM is especially impactful in the manufacturing of medical devices.

Additive processes like powder bed fusion (PBF) offer the ability to produce surface textures that improve implant acceptance and promote surrounding growth. In the PBF process, exposure to UHP nitrogen or argon gas has the ability to improve structural integrity when used in the correct amounts. And yet, over-exposure to these gases or failure to adhere to the required level of purity can have the opposite effect.

When patient safety is on the line, the need for proven UHP gas delivery systems takes on new meaning. Designed to uphold 99.999% purity while also providing outstanding operator control, AES SEMI-GAS® equipment is well-suited to the increasingly complex nature of additive manufacturing.

Application 3: Gene Therapy Research & Development

Another life-saving application that harnesses pure process gas is laboratory research. In the highly sensitive laboratory environment, access to high purity nitrogen is required to establish atmospheric control, facilitate equipment performance, and maximize analytical sensitivity. In cases where uninterrupted nitrogen access is needed, on-site generation is often leveraged in lieu of dewars.

One advanced analytical technique that relies heavily on the supply of pure nitrogen is Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). In an LC-MS system, nitrogen is essential to maximizing analytical sensitivity through solvent removal. LC-MS systems are most commonly leveraged in highly advanced life sciences laboratories, hotbeds for the development of lifesaving therapeutics.

Over the past decade, gene therapies have continued to gain traction for their ability to treat patients in a highly targeted way by leveraging living cells to create therapeutics. Most recently, gene therapies are increasingly being applied to the treatment of rare diseases. As gene therapies expand from the laboratory and into larger scale production, nitrogen reliant LC-MS plays a pivotal role in affirming the consistency and quality of pharmaceuticals before they reach the patient.

A Proven Partner for All of Your Innovative Applications

With two renowned gas delivery equipment lines, SEMI-GAS® and VERSA-GAS™, as well as a deep bench of gas delivery experts, AES delivers the systems and application insight needed to satisfy even the most complex application requirements. From electronics manufacturing, to additive manufacturing, and laboratory research, our end-to-end gas delivery solutions are powering the applications of tomorrow, today.

Would you like to learn how our proven gas delivery systems can satisfy your application demands? Contact one of our experts today.

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