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  • Lasers Enable High-Volume Handling of Microelectronics
Oct 2011
FARGO, N.D., Oct. 27, 2011 — A contactless laser-assisted packaging technology for high-throughput, low-cost assembly of ultrathin semiconductor chips onto rigid and flexible substrates has recently been developed. The technology, called laser-enabled advanced packaging (LEAP), has the potential to facilitate high-volume handling, placement and interconnection of microelectronic components that are smaller than ever before.

The comprehensive wafer-to-product electronic packaging technology allows semiconductor chips less than 50 µm thick to be rapidly placed and fixed at specific locations and orientations with high precision. It has been under development by the Advanced Electronics Packaging research group at the North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) since 2008.

Researchers at North Dakota State University said a new electronics manufacturing technology developed at its Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering eliminates challenges facing conventional packaging techniques and shows promise in significantly reducing the size and unit cost of microelectronic devices. Known as LEAP, or Laser-Enabled Advanced Packaging, it utilizes a patent-pending process called thermomechanical selective laser assisted die transfer (tmSLADT). (Images: NDSU CNSE)

A key part of LEAP is the patent-pending thermomechanical selective laser assisted die transfer (tmSLADT) process.

LEAP technology can be used on flexible substrate electronics that allow devices to bend, roll and be manipulated into complex geometries, as shown in the Alien Technology Squiggle RFID tag pictured.

“The LEAP technology and tmSLADT process are important because they potentially enable a new class of inexpensive electronic devices by the high-volume placement and interconnection of various types of ultrathin, fine-pitch, active and passive circuit components,” said Aaron Reinholz, associate director for electronics technology at CNSE. “These types of components are especially of interest for flex substrate electronics, as they allow devices to bend, roll and be manipulated into complex geometries.”

Reinholz said application of the LEAP technology offers a new paradigm for numerous types of flexible and potentially disposable microelectronic devices, such as garment-integrated radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, intelligent sensors platforms and self-adapting conformal antennas. He said that this technology has strong potential in the near future outside of defense applications to reduce the unit cost of high-volume single-chip devices such as RFID tags, smart cards, chip-and-pin bank cards and “smart” banknotes. According to CNSE researchers, the tmSLADT process also has potential value in microelectromechanical systems fabrication or other microassembly applications.

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