Top-tier Equipment for Top-tier Research
Finetech’s versatile flip-chip die bonder is contributing to optoelectronics research at one of the UK’s top engineering universities.
The University of Southampton (UK), whose prominent research activities influence various spheres of science and human life, is ranked among the top 1% of universities worldwide1, providing scholars and professionals with a platform for critical thinking and scientific development.
Sample testing made simple
Due to the research-intensive technical demands, the University of Southampton decided to invite tenders for a high specification flip-chip bonder in 2013. After several assessment rounds, they decided in favor of our proposed system.
The Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, who is in charge of the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre, was in need of equipment for fundamental research where samples could be assembled fast and then immediately used for testing.
The machine’s target specifications were defined based on requirements set by the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, University of Southampton. They were seeking a flip-chip die bonder that would support quick process implementation for various applications. The scope of work involved an initial series of 50 assembly samples containing accelerometers, proximity sensors, resistors, microcontrollers and LEDs.
- Electronic components on the micro component level (<300 microns) bonded onto thin plastic strips
- Each plastic strip patterned with electric circuits and component layouts
- Utmost precision needed for direct solder and solder ball application
Finetech provided the University with a manual table-top FINEPLACER® system offering the highest degree of flexibility and sub-micron placement accuracy. Its modular design and short set-up times allowed for easy adaptation to different laboratory requirements. The research team was captivated by the machine’s outstanding high-resolution optics, comprising an overlay vision alignment system with a fixed beam splitter. Together with the process video module for in-situ observation, the optics provided the laboratory with useful image and video materials for their research documentation and scientific reports.
Test runs and machine evaluation took place at the Finetech headquarters in Berlin. The University experienced in full effect that they had obtained more than just a piece of equipment. They also had access to Finetech’s knowledge in process development, a commitment to long-term cooperation, full-time support and comprehensive training – basically an ultimate package to enable scientific progress.
Expanding research horizons
Immediately following the installation at the University’s cleanroom, the Finetech Product Manager conducted a week-long training to introduce the research staff to the equipment. After the initial sample assembly was successful, the University of Southampton ordered new tools and modules for additional applications, with a particular focus on laser assembly and laser bar bonding for silicon photonics.
The Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) department of the University of Southampton was so pleased with the results that they have recommended the machine to other research groups.
"The flip-chip bonder has enabled new collaborations. The purchase of extra options has further enhanced the machine capabilities so that we were able to integrate it into additional projects. This has led to closer ties with Finetech and allowed for developing cooperation with partners from South Korea and the USA."Dr. Ke Li
Research Staff, ECS, University of Southampton
1According to QS World University Rankings 2017/2018