ALD moisture barriers for wafers, chips, packages and PCBA’s
Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is an unmatchable moisture barrier and encapsulation solution for electronics and semiconductor components. The ultra-thin ALD moisture protection can be applied in different phases of the production process: wafer-level, chip-level, package or module-level, and/or Assembled Printed Circuit Board (PCBA) level.
Different applications, different needs
The requirements for moisture barrier always depend on the application. Food packaging requires much less protection than electronics and semiconductor components. However, even within those applications there are big differences: a circuit board, for example, requires less protection than an OLED display.
To answer the question when to apply ALD moisture protection, we need to look at the application and the requirements of the application in question. Depending on the product and the production process, ALD moisture protection can be applied in one or several stages of the production. Each product is unique, and the customer is always the expert of their own product, which is why the decision of when to use ALD moisture barrier is always made together with the customer based on their needs and requirements.
Solutions for all moisture protection requirements
So, what are the benefits of using an ALD moisture barrier in different phases? Let’s look at the wafer-level as an example. Wafer-level ALD solutions offer an easy and fast way of creating an ALD barrier, which can be applied automatically with cluster tools. The latest wafer ALD equipment provide high throughput, low operating cost and competitive up-time. Wafer-level ALD moisture barrier solutions can be used for example in LED industry to extend the lifetime of a LED chip.
Wafer-level is cost-effective and often provides sufficient protection against moisture. That being said, with critical components and ultra-sensitive electronics, it makes sense to apply multiple ALD coatings in several phases of the production process to ensure impeccable protection against moisture. For example, unlike wafer-level moisture protection, chip-level also protects the side-walls of the chip against moisture.
It’s also important to take into consideration that with some applications maintenance costs can be extremely high and repair difficult to perform. With applications like these, ALD coating applied in several phases, or in the later phases of the production, pays itself back during the lifetime of the application – even if the initial costs are higher than only using the wafer-level protection.
Beneq has been researching and producing ALD-based moisture barrier solutions for years providing solutions to leading manufacturing companies in MEMS, power semiconductors, RF, LED, and III-V semiconductors. We meet the varying needs and requirements of these customers by offering ALD equipment solutions for all production stages from wafer-level to PCBs.
Download the new Beneq ALD whitepaper
Read more about ultimate moisture protection and the benefits of atomic layer deposition from our new whitepaper: