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Advanced Ceramics in the Semiconductor Industry
Microchips, semiconductors, and circuit boards are at the foundation of our modern era. It is a technology that has transformed industries and created new ones. Even today, there is virtually no limit in sight as to how integrated circuits will change the world in the years ahead.
Today, a microchip may contain a billion transistors, and the search is on for materials that can withstand the demanding manufacturing environment of semiconductors while delivering the physical qualities needed by the world’s highest technologies.
Engineered advanced ceramics deliver consistent performance in an environment of harsh thermal, chemical, and electrical conditions, while enduring hundreds of cycles as semiconductors are built up layer after layer.
Ceramics in Semiconductor Manufacturing
Plasma processing is a critical part of semiconductor manufacturing. Typically, a plasma gas is generated in a vacuum. This gas is composed of ions, electrons, radicals, and neutral particles. By carefully controlling the flow of these particles, operations like etching, deposition, and stripping processes are achieved. The use of oxygen, fluorine, and exotic plasma gases is extremely aggressive to many materials.
Advanced ceramics excel in these applications because they can withstand corrosive environments and have exceptional purity. The multiple plasma cycles required to manufacture semiconductors would liberate impurities in lesser materials and contaminate the extremely precise builds where layers are measured in nanometers.
This is why ceramics, with their excellent plasma resistance, are chosen over resins, glass, and metals for use in semiconductor manufacturing.
Wafer Handling and Processing Equipment
The durability, heat resistance, and precision of ceramics also make them excellent for use in chip-processing equipment, such as ultra-flat vacuum wafer chucks designed to improve yields in wafer processing.
Ceramics are used in end effectors, which are robotic handling blades to move semiconductor wafers between positions.
Ceramics are used in heaters and heating components for use in semiconductor manufacturing.
Lift pins for lifting and moving wafers through processing positions are exposed repeatedly to harsh vacuum chamber conditions and require the thermal stability and corrosion resistance of advanced ceramics.
Porous ceramics are used to create vacuum break filters which speed the venting of vacuum chambers, increasing yields and production throughput.
The Future of Ceramics in Semiconductors
As innovation continues to produce faster, cheaper, and smaller microchips, the future of ceramics remains bright. This is because production processes are becoming ever more aggressive in terms of their rapid thermal treatments, harsher chemical washes, and more powerful plasmas.
Increasingly complex chip architecture, atomic level layer engineering, and an extreme intolerance for impurity all demand the clean, durable, and resilient properties of advanced ceramics.
Manufacturing Expertise and Reliability
At GBC Advanced Materials, we have the expertise, production capabilities, and efficient workflow needed to deliver the critical ceramics parts needed by today’s semiconductor industry. Our capabilities include:
- ISO Pressing (including Mechanical Pressing and Cold Isostatic Pressing)
- Green Manufacturing (delivering closer near net dimensions, reducing post-fired/grinding costs and lead times.
- Sintering (applied to a powder compact in order to impart strength, integrity and densification)
- Hard Grinding (precision removal of material resulting in improved surface finishes and precise geometries)
- Extrusion (cross-sectional shapes to create tubes of all shapes and sizes)
- Polishing & Lapping (producing dimensionally accurate specimens to high surface and roughness requirements)
Visit our Capabilities Page to learn more.
Why Choose GBC Advanced Materials?
We are chosen by clients in a variety of industries for our low tooling cost, reduced lead times, lower material and machining costs, but most especially for our 30+ years of experience in machining engineered ceramics and specialty materials.
For some of the fastest turnaround times in the industry, state-of-the art materials, and exceptional quality in precision ceramics, email GBC materials at Sales@GBCMaterials.com or visit our Contact Us page today.