Coherent Corp., a global leader in ceramics and metal matrix composites, has developed an additive manufacturing process capable of producing advanced ceramic components for high-performance thermal management applications, including for next-generation semiconductor capital equipment.
Severe shortages of integrated circuits based on leading-edge nodes have reportedly spurred massive investments worldwide in the buildout of semiconductor manufacturing facilities equipped with the most advanced semiconductor capital equipment. Coherent has successfully developed proprietary materials and technologies that enable ceramic components produced with its AM process to match those produced with its existing molding process in their mechanical and thermal properties. Ceramic components manufactured with the new AM process can now be precision-machined using the most advanced laser-based techniques, including those available at Coherent. These are critical for next-generation semiconductor capital equipment. AM is superior to molding in process capability, yield, and throughput. It requires no retooling time between components, which minimizes lead times and waste.
“Ceramic additive manufacturing enables components that are lighter and with entirely new geometries, which are required for next-generation semiconductor capital equipment designs. Until now, these components were lower in quality and precision compared with molded ceramic components. With this new breakthrough, our customers will benefit from the best of both worlds,” said Steve Rummel, Senior VP of the Engineered Materials and Laser Optics Business Unit at Coherent. “We’re moving quickly to establish a new ceramic additive manufacturing line in Temecula, California. We’ve also defined with our customers a strategic roadmap to broaden our additive manufacturing capabilities, beyond ceramics, to a wider range of materials, including metals.”
Ceramic components produced with the proprietary AM process from Coherent can reportedly achieve a state-of-the-art elastic modulus of 365 GPa and a flexural strength of 290 MPa. They are ideal for a wide range of semiconductor equipment, including photolithography, deposition, and etching. They are also a great solution for advanced packaging components with integrated cooling channels, for high-performance computer processors such as CPUs and GPUs.