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.
Wafer handling applications for plastics include the following:
- Die-pickup collets
- End effectors
- 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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