Laser processing technology on household electronics - semiconductor appliances is becoming more popular because of its characteristics of high speed, flexible and precise marking, especially of permanent, inerasable and unable to falsify marking ability. In the marking process, the information about quality standards or information concerning products, characters, text or code can be generated easily and quickly on most devices with higher degree of accuracy than any other processing method.

Most of electronic and semi-conductive components, parts - are relatively small in size so very difficult to handle and produce. However, with advanced laser technology today, the operations become easier and much simpler through applications such as welding joints, cutting circuit boards, matrix lead frames, and μSD Card, or marking traceability to the electronic components, semiconductors with high accuracy without affecting the function of these components and parts.

1. Semiconductor Industry

1.1. Laser Cutting of Matrix Lead Frames

In the semiconductor production the material processing with lasers is standard. This ranges from marking of wafers and marking and separating of completed components to defect analysis. Today, for the majority of the applications diode pumped semiconductor lasers are used in the basic wavelength of 1064 nm and in versions with doubled and tripled frequencies.

The partially extreme demands on highly specialized processes in the semiconductor production are responsible for the fact that fiber lasers with comparable long pulse lengths and low pulse peak performances had only little success until today. The laser based separation leaves faulty components in the lead frame.

1.2. Laser Cutting of µSD Card

Miniaturized memory cards (µSD) require cutting of irregular shapes. The half-cut technology, a combination of laser and mechanical saw, offers higher performance and less surface roughness than conventional methods. Compared to water jet cutting, laser cutting is three times more cost-effective at comparable performance. End pumped lasers with 532 nm wavelength achieve best cutting quality.

1.3. Laser marking of Chip IC

IC chips are required by their small size and high integration density. The requirements for precision in machining and marking of the chip surface are very high. It is required to clearly mark text, model, manufacturer and other information without damaging the components.

Laser engraving technology helps to create beautiful and delicate engraved details, without damaging the functional properties of the chip. The structural design of the IC automatic laser marking machine is modular and can be reorganized. Can mass-produce quickly, compatible with a wide range of products with different specifications.

1.4. Cutting/ Marking/ Drilling Laser on PCB

Laser cutting/ marking/ drilling of PCB’s is an efficient, reliable process which doesn’t involve chemicals or any consumable materials and is a totally contactless process. This makes the method highly cost-effective and attractive for industrial manufacturing solutions.

The process relies on changing the surface properties of PCB material under laser radiation and is not only very quick compared to alternative methods but is also easily repeatable regardless of data volume.

1.5. Wafer Marking

Lasers mark all materials commonly used in semiconductor manufacturing: semiconductors, metals, polymers, silicon, mold compounds and epoxy resins. Depending on the type of material and on how much marking flexibility is required, diode pumped solid state lasers in fundamental (1062 nm), second (532 nm) or third (355 nm) harmonic wavelength are used. Debris-free marking, which is set for clean-room environments, is just 2.5 µm deep.

1.6. Laser Marking of Silicon

The laser marking of silicon wafers and PCBs facilitates traceability of the manufacturing process. Marks must be machine-readable, miniaturized and have no negative influence on the further manufacturing steps and still permit clear identification at the end of the process chain. In many cases the laser marking systems have to meet clean room specifications.

1.7. Laser Marking of Ceramics

In semiconductor industry lasers are used for lead frame cutting or hybrid cutting processes. The scanner-based cutting technology is fast and flexible enough to interact closely with preceding functional tests. With extremely small kerf widths even the tiniest lead structures can be processed.

Besides silicon, metallic materials (lead frames and housings) and plastics, especially epoxy resins of grouting materials are processed. Especially, laser marking of a ceramics housing.

1.8. Laser Inspection

The dramatic miniaturization of electrical and opto-electrical circuits and the growing need of high precision measurements of the shape of surfaces in industry are the driving force of the laser-based inspection market. The laser is perfectly suited for high precision inspection, because of its high resolution and the various wavelengths available that can be selected according to the material under investigation.

1.9. Pulsed Laser Deposition

Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) is a laser-based technique used to grow high-quality thin films of complex materials on substrates like Silicon wafers. The material to be deposited (target) is vaporized by short and intense laser pulses and forms a plasma plume. Then, the vaporized target material from the plasma bombards the substrate and – under the right conditions – creates a thin homogenous layer on this substrate.

For each laser shot, a layer of only a few nanometers of material is ablated to form the plasma plume in a process that typically last a few tens of picoseconds. To enable this process, nanosecond pulses with energies of tens to hundreds of mJ are necessary and UV wavelengths are usually preferred. These requirements match very well the performances of excimer lasers.

The first laser deposition experiments took place in the mid to late 1960s, but PLD gained tremendous interest after T. Venketesan in 1987 first applied this method to create high temperature superconductive (HTSC) films. Since then, many hundreds of lasers have been sold to drive research, process development and small-scale production of thin film devices, such as superconductive magnetic sensors (SQUIDs), thin film ferroelectrics and “high k” gate resistors, semiconductor alloys, carbon nano-tubes, and more. 

2. Electronic Industry

2.1. Laser Cutting

Due to the large range of beam sources for almost every material in the electronic industry there is an efficient cutting solution. The beam deflection with galvo scanning heads allows any complex cutting contours that can be reprogrammed within shortest time. As opposed to other cutting processes, the laser cannot wear out, which assures the continuous processing quality that is important for the steady production process.

Applications: Laser Cutting of µSD Cards, Circuit Boards, and metal components,...

2.2. Laser Welding

In the Electronic Industry, laser welding is available for Metals and Plastics. Spot and seam welding of metals with lasers is precise and allows joining of very small welding spots and finest welding seams of miniaturized, electrical components. By using galvo scanning heads, the process is very quickly and flexibly adjustable. The laser transmission welding of plastics completely displaces the connection into the inner of the join partner, works with minimal heat input and leaves the surfaces in perfect condition.

Therefore, also sensitive components, such as in sensors, can be welded gas-proof. Competing methods like the bonding of plastics require surface treatment and work with organic dissolvers. Sometimes, like the welding with heating elements or hot air, they are cheap, but dull and soon wore out. Applications: Laser Welding of Pressure Sensors, Batteries/Accumulator Housings, and Mobile Phones,...

2.3. Laser Marking

Electrical products usually bear various labels and markings, they are required for good usability and contain type- and security information, serial numbers and traceability codes. Solid state and CO2 lasers will produce durable laser markings on commonly used materials even on the smallest areas.

For instance, a perfectly legible 2D matrix code will fit within an area of less than 1 mm x 1 mm. Applications: Laser Marking of Mobile Phone Keypads, Components for Electrical Installation, Circuit Boards,...

2.4. Laser Ablation

The Electronics industry needed a method that was fast, fully automated, very precise and capable of switching between materials of different specifications, across multiple applications. Electronics need to also have aesthetic appeal, and cutting operations need to deliver a solution that creates a smooth finish and creates a product for the end user that’s ready to market.

Fiber laser ablation is a non-contact-based process that removes unwanted materials very quickly with great accuracy. The process is controlled and there is no blackening or scorching over a large area. The process creates greater efficiency and productivity and reduces the lead time taken to manufacture electronic components.

Applications: the creation of RFID antennas, heating elements, touch screen components that are conductive and conductive circuits for electronic products.

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