The electrostatic chuck, or ‘e-chuck’, is used for a wide range of power applications. These devices allow users to enhance throughput and reduce issues around gas and wafer problems. This is especially vital for semiconductor use and manufacturing processes, as sophisticated e-chucks enhance the control of electrostatic force, waveform productions, and provide other critical opportunities for optimized performance.
XP Power produces a market leading range of highly precise power supplies that support the use of e-chuck technology across numerous end applications. We provide our customers with reliable and innovative solutions that power all of the steps in the IC manufacturing process and enable the most complex IC structures and material processing requirements.
What is an electrostatic chuck?
E-chucks use electrical force to move, hold or pick up objects through manipulating the attraction of opposite charges in a workpiece — such as a circuit board. They support insulation and conduction of electronic substrates, which provide the connections within an electrical circuit and help cool its components.
How it works
The electrostatic chuck works by manipulating the attraction and polarisation of the electrical charge within target objects. They apply either positive or negative voltages, forcing the charges within to move and in turn generating an attraction between internal electrodes. This is what's known as a Coulomb force, named after the physicist who discovered the inverse-square law.
However, there is another type of force that e-chucks stimulate called the Johnsen-Rahbek. Here, the force is produced by running a small current through a gap at the interface between the target object and its dielectric (insulator).
When are e-chucks applied?
Many electrical products today, including personal computers, smartphones, and automobiles, use these components called integrated circuit (IC) chips. These parts are often made up of wafer-thin materials, and e-chucks are especially helpful for moving perforated materials and for use in atmospheric environments, among others.
Why do we use e-chucks?
Clamps and chucks are not limited to electrostatics. Vacuum chucks, for example, are also applied to move objects, although some work better in different environments. The advantages of e-chucks are that they react differently to certain materials. For incredibly small or thin items, even the lightest physical touch can affect or even damage them beyond repair. When e-chucks are used, the entire object can be attracted, and therefore moved, reducing the risk of physical wear.
What are e-chucks used for?
E-chucks in a semiconductor process are used to hold the wafer in order to do the work that needs to be done for that specific part of the wafer manufacturing process. A single wafer could contain hundreds of ICs and a single IC can have billions or even trillions of transistors which makes the e-chuck and e-chuck power a very critical part of the process
What do I need to power an e-chuck?
E-chuck solutions are high voltage power supplies that can range anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of volts with a few micros to milliamps of current. Depending upon the configuration of the tool you are using and the process required the power requirements could be very different. Key elements of an e-chucks power requirement are voltage, current, polarity, controls & monitor, digital interface, size, and additional requirements based on the specific process.
Please contact our technical support team for more information on our industry leading electrostatic chuck power supplies.