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Coherent AM process builds ceramic components for semicon market

Ceramic components

The new process can build ceramic components with mechanical and thermal properties matching those produced via existing moulding processes (Image: Coherent)

Coherent has developed a new additive manufacturing (AM) process capable of producing advanced ceramic components for high-performance thermal management applications, for example in next-generation semiconductor capital equipment.

Severe shortages of integrated circuits based on leading-edge nodes have spurred large investments worldwide in the buildout of manufacturing facilities equipped with advanced semiconductor capital equipment. 

Coherent is now able to develop ceramic components using a new AM process, which it says delivers mechanical and thermal properties that match those of components produced via existing moulding processes. 

The firm also says the AM process is superior to moulding in terms of capability, yield, and throughput. It also requires no retooling time between components, which minimises lead times and waste. 

“Ceramic AM 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 moulded ceramic components. With this new breakthrough, our customers will benefit from the best of both worlds,” said Steve Rummel, Senior VP, Engineered Materials and Laser Optics Business Unit. “We’re moving quickly to establish a new ceramic AM line in Temecula, California. We’ve also defined with our customers a strategic roadmap to broaden our AM capabilities, beyond ceramics, to a wider range of materials, including metals.”

Ceramic components produced with the new AM process can achieve what Coherent says is a state-of-the-art elastic modulus of 365GPa and a flexural strength of 290MPa. They are ideal for a wide range of semiconductor equipment, including in 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.

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