Fiber Laser Welding in the Semiconductor Industry
The semiconductor industry has continued to grow from strength to strength in recent years, given the rapid rise of the number of consumer electronics that have emerged in the market.
This rise has seen the need for more efficient and cost-effective processes to be implemented, and ones which won’t sacrifice anything in terms of safety or the quality of the end product. For this reason, fiber laser welding has quickly grown in prominence within the semiconductor industry. Find out more about this below.
More information about the semiconductor industry
A semiconductor is a solid substance or material which conducts electricity, but only partly, hence the ‘semi’. The material falls somewhere between an insulator, which has little to no conductivity, and a conductor, which will have almost complete conductivity. Only under certain conditions will it allow for the conducting of electricity, meaning that it is a great way to control the flow of an electrical current.
As it falls somewhere between both an insulator and a conductor, it is a substance that is comprised of more than one material. You will find materials that are good conductors, such as copper, as well as those that are insulators, such as ceramic, present.
You will find that there are a variety of semiconductors too. Some are elemental semiconductors, made of materials such as arsenic or carbon. Silicon is another material used for elemental semiconductors, and is the most commonly used. The other type is a compound semiconductor, which is constructed from materials like gallium arsenide.
While you may be less familiar with semiconductors themselves, you’ll more than likely be familiar with the items that they are a core component of; TVs, laptops, smartphones, computers and a whole range of other electronics items. While the largest use is with consumer electronics, an industry that is expected to be worth around $2.9 trillion by 2020, it also plays a role in other types of electronics, such as medical devices.
With the rapid rise in the number of electronics that we have need for, the semiconductor industry grew to a value of $335.2 billion in 2015. It is more than likely that this figure will only keep increasing, especially given the range of new electronics items that continue to emerge, such as electric cars.
How is fiber laser welding used within this sector?
Semiconductors are incredibly small, delicate and complicated in nature, and many traditional welding processes struggle to work with such shapes. Fiber laser welding has no such trouble, and is capable of delivering highly accurate and precise welds with even the smallest sizes.
As we explored above, semiconductors are typically constructed from a wide range of materials, and fiber laser welding is capable of working with this variety of substances. Better yet, it provides an advantage that many other laser processes don’t; its ability to work with reflective metals such as copper and aluminium. Many other processes struggle with these as the beam is reflected back into the system. Our fiber lasers, on the other hand, are designed to ensure the user has no such problem.
All of these various materials and components need to be welded together with strong joints that can stand the test of time. Furthermore, there is minimal heat output during the process, meaning that the surrounding area of the semiconductor suffers no negative effects.
This is important, as both safety and quality are the highest priorities for many of the industries that semiconductors find themselves placed within. Thanks to lasers, this industry has enjoyed a much higher level of growth, and is excepted to keep doing so in the years to come.
Where else will you find this process being used?
As you can see, fiber laser welding plays an important role within the semiconductor industry. But it’s not just this sector where you will find that it has heavy prominence, but others too such as the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors.
Image Credits: Lee Campbell
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