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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Texas Microfactory Acquires Additional Unique Equipment

April 24, 2007

The Texas Microfactory at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Automation & Robotics Research Institute (ARRI) has acquired a wafer bonder and aligner capable of very precise, double-sided mask alignment, fusion, anodic and thermo-compression wafer bonding. The equipment was secured through a $503,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

The Texas Microfactory is a collection of three clean rooms (including one class 100) and additional laboratories dedicated to investigating efficient methods of microassembly and micropackaging. Researchers there have conducted several projects for the ONR, and this equipment will play a critical role in present and future electronics microsystems packaging research, including interconnects for 3D vertical hyperintegration and the packaging of microfluidics. Most of the research utilizing the EVG 520/620 bonder and aligner will be coordinated by Electrical Engineering Assistant Professor Dan Popa (the principal investigator for this grant) and ARRI associates Drs. Harry Stephanou, J.-C. Chiao, Woo Ho Lee, Jeongsik Sin and Mason Graff.

Wafer bonding is a critical step in micropackaging, guaranteeing that microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)/integrated circuit devices are protected from the operating environment. In microelectronics, in addition to achieving Level-0 packaging, wafer bonding is being investigated in the context of creating 3D circuits with reduced signal line lengths and compact form factors.

ARRI researchers have developed a novel 3D wafer-level packaging technique for MEMS devices that is based on stacking of silicon and glass wafers manufactured using different micromachining technologies. The proposed wafer stacks can incorporate IC electronics, MEMS, microfluidics and microoptics and are bonded together using patternable polymers such as benzocyclobutene.

The ONR’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program provides funds to improve the capabilities of U.S. institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment.