Tag Archives: environments

Sapphire Wafers and Substrates

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Synthetic sapphire created in laboratories is a very hard material of aluminum oxide in a hexagonal crystalline form. Sapphire is the third hardest mineral after the diamond and the moissanite. It is durable and has high temperatures and a high heat resistance in most process environments and applications found in semiconductor wafer manufacturing.

Polished sapphire wafers and substrates are used for applications including infrared detectors, hybrid microelectronics, radiation resistance, and polishing characters. LED arrays are also produced on sapphire substrates, and they save megawatts of lighting power.

Very thin electronic wafers are also used as the insulating substrates of solid-state electronics, especially integrated circuits due to their excellent electrical insulating properties. Sapphire has high thermal conductivity, and CMOS chips on sapphire are useful for high-power radio-frequency applications such as satellite communication systems, public safety band radios, and cellular telephones.

Sapphire blank applications include substrates, wafers, covers, flats, windows, and spacers. The size of sapphire able to be polished is limited only by the material’s availability. Sapphire wafer services include sapphire cnc machining, dicing, wafer thinning, backgrinding, hole drilling, angle and edge polishing, and other industrial purposes.

Polishing Corporation of America (PCA), in their modern semiconductor industry facility in the heart of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, California, has been manufacturing high-grade sapphire wafers for close to half a century. It is one of the leading suppliers for customers around the world and has developed a polishing substrates process that is approximately nine times as easy as previous processes. Their technicians also created the first wax-free method of silicon wafer polishing that obtains ultra flatness at a very low cost.

PCA offers silicon wafers of any diameter (including new ultra-flat 400mm diameter wafers) that are produced to precise SEMI standards or to custom specifications for individual semiconductor designs.

ATE automated test equipment

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Defining ATE automated test equipment will take a few more acronyms, but the short answer is that it’s a system of using automation to run tests on products and processes in order to provide faster and more accurate results. Automated test equipment requires little human interaction, and works especially well in high-volume testing. It’s usually a self-contained unit of testing hardware and software combined, and provides accurate and detailed analysis of test results using pre-defined criteria. ATE is most often used in manufacturing environments like the automotive, aerospace and medical equipment industries.

How it Works
AT equipment uses computer software set to certain specifications. It’s application can be as simple as the handheld gauge used to determine voltage or as complex as a sophisticated program that runs highly-detailed analysis of an avionics system.

There are two ways of attaching the testing device. One is with a probe that determines the working status of a piece of equipment through electrical current. An example would be a device that detects electrical current on the components of a printed circuit board. Another way the testing apparatus can be attached is via an Interface Test Adapter, or ITA, that conforms the ATE to the DUT, or Device Under Testing. The purpose is to test devices to determine if they’re in proper working condition and check them for defects. The speed and accuracy of this process makes it especially useful in electronics and mechanical testing.

The decision of what or how much of an apparatus or electronics system depends in part upon its use and the the cost of testing versus the the value of the unit’s final output.