Necessity prompts wafer carrier invention
Model KA250, un veiled in March by Fluoroware Inc. (Chaska, MN), is a customizable 200-mm carrier for advanced wafer processing that incorporates two materials to achieve high performance at mid-range prices. Enhanced contamination control and automation compatibility are among its key characteristics.
According to Fluoroware vice president and general manager Dave Ring, the KA250 provides the reliable wafer access, tighter equipment interface tolerances, visual or colored wafer lot identification and such capabilities as inverted processing that customers have been asking for.
Fluoroware contends that to date existing 200-mm carriers have been scaled-up modifications of smaller diameter carrier designs the company pioneered in the late 1960s, and that performance improvements have come from molding different materials into the classic wafer carrier shape.
“We combined polycarbonate and traditional polyetheretherketone (PEEK) materials in a hybrid or composite carrier and put the materials in places [designated by market drivers],” explains Wayne Olson, Fluoroware 200-mm product/marketing manager. For example, PEEK — typically used to construct higher performance carriers — is used in wafer contact areas and where mechanical abrasion is greatest; polycarbonate is used everywhere else.
The result is a wafer carrier that possesses the characteristics of both materials. Fluoroware estimates that mid-range carriers cost $50 to $100 each, while high-performance carriers range from $250 to $350.
KA250 production begins in April, with shipments by the end of the month.–TGW