Wafer Handling

Dimensionally stable, high purity, wear resistant plastic materials for wafer handling

The plastics used for handling semiconductor wafers need to be strong, stiff, and dimensionally stable. They also have to have outstanding wear resistance to withstand repeated handling cycles. Additionally, they need to be non-sloughing and have low outgassing and low particulate generation to minimize the chance of contaminating the semiconductor chips being manufactured. For some applications, the plastic materials contacting the wafers need to be able to operate at elevated temperatures.

High performance plastics used underground or in subsea systems, downhole or rigging operations, exploration, oil refining, or hydraulic fracturing.
Extreme temperatures and harsh environmental conditions Oil and gas exploration and production require materials that withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments.

Wafer handling applications for plastics include the following:

  • Bearings
  • Bushings
  • Die-pickup collets
  • End effectors
  • Guides
  • Insulators
  • Spin chucks
  • Vacuum pads
  • Vacuum wand tips
  • Wafer carriers
  • Wafer chucks
  • Wafer clamping rings
  • Wafer guides
  • Wear strips

Curbell supplies the following plastic materials for wafer handling applications:

Vacuum chamber applications are particularly challenging since they may involve elevated temperatures and aggressive process chemicals. PEEK, Torlon® PAI, and DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide are often used for these applications. Semitron® MPR 1000 is a proprietary material manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials that is also used for vacuum chamber applications. Semitron® MPR 1000 has superior resistance to oxygen plasma than many other high-performance polymers.

Vacuum chamber windows are frequently manufactured from thick, optically transparent polycarbonate sheet.

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Looking for materials that have the strength, dimensional stability, wear resistance, and ESD properties required for wafer handling? Whatever you need, our plastics experts are here for you—ready to answer your technical questions and discuss material options.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Which materials can be used for elevated temperature wafer handling applications?

DuPont™ Vespel®, Torlon® PAI, PPS, PEEK and various fluoropolymers including PTFE, PFA, FEP, PVDF (Kynar®), ECTFE (Halar®), ETFE (Tefzel®) can be used at elevated temperatures. DuPont™ Vespel®, PPS, Torlon® PAI, and PEEK will be stronger and stiffer than fluoropolymers at elevated temperatures.

Are there plastic materials available with ESD properties?

Curbell supplies a wide range of plastics with surface resistivities in the conductive, static dissipative, and antistatic ranges.

Which plastics will help to minimize particulate contamination?

Curbell supplies materials such as DuPont™ Vespel® and PVDF (Kynar®) that have low particulate generation, which helps help to maintain purity during wafer processing.

Which plastics can be used in vacuum conditions?

DuPont™ Vespel®, PEEK and fuoropolymers including PTFE, PFA, FEP, PVDF (Kynar®), ECTFE (Halar®), ETFE (Tefzel®) have low outgassing in vacuum environments.

Which plastics have the best resistance to degradation in plasma chambers?

DuPont™ Vespel®, PEEK, PAI, and Semitron® MPR 1000 all have some degree of resistance to degradation in plasma chambers in the presence of certain chemistries of plasma.