Methinks ESD has been a problem since the 1400s. Consider gunpowder stores in military forts. Even before Shakespeare’s time, soldiers were charged with keeping them uncharged for fear of blowing them up. By the 1860s, paper mills were thwarting ESD in the drying process via grounding, flame ionization techniques and steam drums.
What does that mean for 2016 processes and beyond? Today’s electronics manufacturers are continually innovating to offer customers better, more cost-efficient solutions. While costs associated with latent damage are difficult to pinpoint, industry experts estimate average product loss as high as 33 percent. Even with technological advances, ESD continues to impact virtually every aspect of the global electronics environment. In fact, as electronic devices advance, our voltage tolerance decreases as well as our capacity for heat dissipation.
To mitigate some risks associated with modern processes, a new range of dissipative materials based on fluoroelastomer and perfluoroelastomer polymers has been designed for wafer processing and wafer handling applications. Of course, you’ll want to make sure these materials are compatible with your specific process environment and with the devices themselves. It is important to note, however, that with the correct material and precautions in place, you can continue to combat ESD in the future without getting medieval.