The semiconductor industry requires high levels of precision and purity to ensure functional components. The manufacturing environment should, therefore, offer a high level of purity with clean machining equipment that can stand up to extreme heat and harsh chemical conditions. Typically, semiconductor-grade plastics such as HDPE, polycarbonate, and polypropylene are the most suitable materials to meet these stringent conditions.
Learn more about the types of semiconductor plastics and why these plastics are used in semiconductor applications.
Types of Semiconductor Plastics
Here is an overview of the main types of plastic materials used in semiconductor manufacturing.
Polycarbonate is one of the sturdiest plastics in the industry. It is ideal for various semiconductor applications, such as manufacturing device test sockets, filtration elements, piping, tubing, and valves. Polycarbonate is highly resistant to electric shocks, making it ideal for dampening static electricity.
Polypropylene is a synthetic polymer made from propylene monomers. It features exceptional chemical and acid resistance, making it ideal for semiconductor applications. It provides the added benefit of being cost-effective compared to other options. Polypropylene can be made into plastic semiconductor parts such as integrated circuit (IC) chip parts and electrical insulators.
Kynar® PVDF is highly resistant to various chemicals, including acids, bases, solvents, and many corrosive materials commonly present in semiconductor processing. Some typical chemicals that Kynar® resins handle include deionized water and hot acids. These attributes help protect semiconductor equipment and components from degradation and corrosion. Additionally, Kynar® boasts excellent flame and smoke properties. This material is also easily weldable, making it adaptable to wet benches, piping, and other equipment within semiconductor facilities.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
High-density polyethylene is often preferred as a semiconductor plastic due to its strength, acid resistance, and resistance to contaminants like mildew and mold. It is also highly versatile and malleable, ideal for creating compliant, high-purity plastic parts and accessories. HDPE is also cost-effective compared to standard options such as quartz or ceramics.
Reasons Certain Plastics Are Used In Semiconductors
Certain plastics are used in the semiconductor industry due to their unique properties and capabilities.
- Chemical Resistance: Plastics for semiconductor processing must resist chemicals, such as those found in wet bench applications. Typically, wet benches are exposed to highly corrosive substances such as hydrofluoric acid, nitric acid, ozone, and hydrochloric acid during acid etching, chemical rinsing, and drying. Exposing metals to these conditions may lead to corrosion and possible product contamination.
- Low Outgassing: Outgassing refers to releasing volatile organic compound (VOC) gases from a material into the environment as a result of factors such as temperature and humidity. Outgassing is not only harmful to semiconductor products but also to the environment. Common low-outgassing plastics such as polycarbonate and HDPE are suitable for use in vacuum-sealed semiconductor processing spaces.
- Static Dissipation: Static electricity is the build-up of electric charge on the surface of a material due to the friction or contact between two materials. These charges can lead to single wayward shocks that can damage the delicate circuitry of an IC chip. Plastics can help dissipate static electricity by grounding charges that could otherwise spark and destroy sensitive components.
Learn More About Semiconductor Plastics
The semiconductor manufacturing process requires an ultra-clean environment to prevent contamination of sensitive semiconductor components. Plastics for semiconductors feature several properties, such as low outgassing, chemical resistance, heat resistance, and static dissipation, which meet the demands of this highly regulated industry.
COMCO Plastics has been a trusted name in the plastics industry for over 60 years. We are proud to serve the semiconductor industry with high-quality, high-purity plastic materials. Contact us today for more information, or request a quote to get started.