In Knol-edge, Harrie Knol shares his knowledge on precision metal. Harrie is Head of Application Engineering at Veco and helps our clients' engineers to shape their projects.
In this video, Harrie talks about Electroforming applications used in the Electronics and Semiconductor industry.
Welcome to the next version of the Knol-edge videos. Today I want to tell something about electroforming in the electronics and semiconductor industry. The most well-known application in the electronics industry are the stencils. We produce a lot of stencils. Stencils for the photovoltaic industry, solar panels. These stencils are used to print the lines on the solar panels, the silver lines. Silver is rather expensive in this process so it becomes more and more important to print very fine lines with high aspect ratios. We print lines down to 20 micron lines; if necessary, we could even make them smaller.
Another application are the SMT stencils for the printed circuit board industry to put solid paste on these printed circuit boards. They are full metal stencils so they last very long. For the oled and the printed electronics, in fact you should call them shadow masks, we call them stencils but in fact they are shadow masks and it will prevent that you do not get any deposit in areas where you don’t want to have it. As I said, these are full metal stencils and the lifetime of these stencils, it depends a little bit on the application but cycle times of 500,000. Even up to 1,000,000 cycles are quite common in this market because they are full metal masks.
Semiconductor industry, we produce a lot of spacer bars, it's already in the name, there are 30-40 micron thick strips that are put between the wafers and also used as a shadow mask to prevent the coating of your product at areas where you don't want it.
A very fast growing market are the test probes, the county layers, wafer probes, however you want to call them. We can adjust the material specifications to your needs. We have three PhD material specialists working on these applications to take care of the current carrying capacity, heat resistance, thermal resistance, electro connectivity, hardness. Whatever you are looking for we can make them.
These wafer probes are used to measure each individual dye on a wafer, hundreds and thousands, sometimes even ten thousands of these probes are combined in one measurement system to enable the complete measurement of the function of the dyes on your wafer. Very fast growing market, you can imagine with the autonomous driving car coming, more and more of these measurement equipment is required.
To get to some kind of a summary, we can adjust the material properties with electroforming, we can adjust them to your needs. It’s the basis of photolithographic process; that means that we can make very fine lines, high aspect ratio products with a high degree of miniaturization. And maybe the main benefit is this market is very cost driven, so it's very important. We can work on very large substrates up to 50 by 60 cm, making the process very cost effective.