UPDATED. 2024-06-20 07:03 (목)
LPKF to supply laser kit for glass chip boards to customers in Asia, CEO says
LPKF to supply laser kit for glass chip boards to customers in Asia, CEO says
  • JY Han
  • 승인 2024.05.16 15:28
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Laser etching to be used in through glass via process 
LPKF CEO Klaus Fiedler Image: TheElec
LPKF CEO Klaus Fiedler Image: TheElec

German laser firm LPKF Laser & Electronics will supply this year its laser equipment for use in the through glass via (TGV) process of glass chip board production.

LPKF CEO Klaus Fiedler told TheElec in an interview that the company signed a deal to ship its kits to a customer working on manufacturing glass chip boards.

Another customer has also recently placed new orders, with these customers being based in Asia, Fiedler said. LPKF was receiving various requests from South Korea and other countries and these are not for research purposes but in preparation for actual production, he added.

The German firm has its own patented laser technology called Laser Induced Deep Etching (LIDE), which has been applied to its Vitrion 5000 series of equipment for use in TGV.

There are large ongoing investments and research in the chip industry to convert the organic core layer of flip-chip ball grid array (FC-BGA) to glass. Currently, most FC-BGA substrate core layers are made out of glass fiber-reinforced epoxy resin (FR4 or Flame Retardant4). Glass is harder than FR4, making it less likely to warp from heat. This means it can have a larger surface area. Glass is also very flat, making it convenient to form fine circuits on them. It also has good insulating properties. It has few signal losses and offers fast signal speed. In high-frequency RF, which requires high operating frequency, glass is being touted as the best material for boards.

US chip giant Intel said it plans to apply glass boards before 2030. Samsung Electro-Mechanics, the electronic parts maker of Samsung, also said it plans to manufacture a prototype chip package that uses a glass board in 2025 with commercial production to follow sometime between 2026 and 2027.

However, many obstacles remain to the production of chip boards that use glass as the core layer. The biggest obstacle is TGV, Holes must be punched through the glass to connect the circuits. But small scratches made during this process threatens the rigidity of the entire board. Sources said when copper is plated on the holes to form circuits, nine out of ten of the glass cracks and these have to be discarded.

This is where LPKF’s LIDE offers a solution. A short laser signal is delivered to where the hole will be on the glass. Then, a high energy photon is delivered to cause structural change __ from density, how chemically bonded the area is, to the crystal structure __ to that area. This allows where the hole will be located to be etched with more ease. This means when the etchant is deposited on the whole surface of the glass, it will react faster on the areas where the laser has been shot, allowing etching to be done quickly and cleanly.

This technology is on LPKF’s Vitrion 5000 P model. The German company said its LIDE technology has been commercialized for a long time and is being used during the production of cover glasses for foldable displays. LIDE is a patented technology that LPKF developed on its own around ten years ago and its equipment using the technology will be the company’s main revenue source, the CEO said.

Meanwhile, LPKF is also offering contract work to process the glass boards themselves. This is offered to customers that produces few units of boards that use glass or as testing for customers to verify quality before they apply the laser equipment in scale, Fiedler explained. This contract production business connects the company with many of its customers, he said.

LPKF is based at Garbsen near Hanover in Germany and was founded in 1976. Its laser equipment is used in the production of printed circuit boards, microchips, solar panels, and biopharmaceuticals. It is listed on the German bourse. It recorded 124.3 million euros in revenue last year.

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