Technology

During ongoing efforts to reduce power losses in semiconductors by thin wafer power semiconductors, the requirement of smaller devices with higher bandwidth is driving the market of advanced packaging based on TSV (through Silicon Via) for vertical integrated MEMS, IC´s, memory and CMOS image sensors.

As a result of these technology developments, the number of thin and highly warped wafers is increasing, giving new challenges to semiconductor manufacturers (FABs & Foundries, OSATS and IDMs) as well as to OEMs supplying tools to the semiconductor industry.

Whereas (flat) standard wafers (app. 700 micrometer thick) can be easily handled by wafer handling tools using vacuum End Effectors offered by several companies, thin wafers with a thicknesses of 50 micrometer and below or highly warped wafers with bows up to 8mm require unique handling tools and components.

mechatronic has developed components and whole handling tools (EFEMs or stand alone machines) being able to handle such critical and became a partner of many leading semiconductor companies and OEMs. The unique know how of mechatronic, as a result of focussed research and industry partnerships enables almost stress free and secure handling of almost all kind of thin and warped wafers.

The key components of mechatronic like End Effectors, wafer chucks, packing chucks, and pre-aligners are designed and manufactured in-house in order to enable the highest level of precision and functionality for each specific wafer that needs to be handled.

Before a specific machine is customized and produced, mechatronic needs to understand the requirements of its customer in detail:

  1. Which wafer needs to be handled? Our sales and application engineers need to understand what size, what thickness, what bow, which material, and how much stress the wafer can be sustain. In many cases, we do some application tests before we decide on the final solution. As a result, the End Effectors, chucks and pre-aligners are defined and in some cases modified.
  2. What throughput requirements are given? This defines the design and the robot used of the tool
  3. What wafer/frame cassettes/Foups, shipping boxes, etc. are used?
  4. What communication and integration requirements need to be implemented?

Since mechatronic wafer handling tools are mainly used at the end of the front end process line or at the beginning of the back end process line, the value of the wafer is already considerably high, therefore reliability and safety is of highest importance of such wafer handling tools. Unique sensing and mapping devices (e.g. mechatronic “3D” thin wafer scanner) and specialized software recipes are applied during the handling process.

As a result of the solution phase, mechatronic drafts the customized tool based on the specific requirements given. Before delivery, the machines undergo an intensive cycle test with critical wafers as defined to ensure excellent performance after installation on-site.