As device performance requirements increase, device features become smaller and films become thinner. The resultant sensitivity to defect density is such that controlling the condition of wafer surfaces prior to primary process steps becomes more and more critical. Wafer cleaning technologies of the past may not be optimum in providing needed device characteristics and reliability of tomorrow's semiconductors. In this paper, we compare the currently used RCA wafer clean chemistries to newer HF last, vapor dry technologies which use direct displacement of liquids to minimize contaminants. Subsequent passivation of these hydrophobic wafer surfaces is accomplished by various methods of oxidation including chemical treatments and RTP processing. Data collected from I-V, SIMS and DEFECT DENSITY testing will be included in the presentation.