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A center for microelectronics manufacturing is developing an R2R process that integrates electronics on flexible plastic.
The Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM; Endicott, NY; http://camm.binghamton.edu) is driving research and development to produce microelectronic components in a roll-to-roll (R2R) format. CAMM is a collaborative effort by Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY; www.binghamton.edu), Endicott Interconnect Technologies Inc. (Endicott, NY; www.endicottinterconnect.com), and Cornell University (Ithaca, NY; www.cornell.edu). Its goal is to create flexible, rugged, lightweight electronic components and products that will support next-generation applications in medical diagnostics, energy and power generation, product identification and tracking, and lighting and displays.
Most advanced electronic components are currently produced on silicon or quartz wafers or on plates of specialized glass in a batch process that has been the backbone of the integrated circuit and flat-panel display industries, according to CAMM. The center’s R2R process integrates electronics on flexible plastic. The process is being developed to produce components more efficiently, at higher yields, and at a lower cost than current methods, potentially creating new applications for flexible electronics.
Planning to eventually turn its research and development program into a fully integrated prototype manufacturing line, CAMM will also provide large-scale testing for academic and industrial research groups to test their work for manufacturing applicability at lower cost and risk than is typically associated with such testing, according to the center. Equipment is accessible to both the university community and private industry, which participates in CAMM through paid membership fees and funded research programs.
CAMM’s 10,000-sq ft facility, which was inaugurated in March, houses a cleanroom, an integrated R2R flexible electronics prototype manufacturing line, and an associated microfabrication laboratory. It also has a precision lithography stepper, vacuum coaters, and in-line defect inspection capability. The center additionally functions as a component of Binghamton University’s New York State Center of Excellence in Small-Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP).
As part of its R2R microelectronics research, CAMM will also evaluate equipment and materials developed by industry and the United States Display Consortium, which provided the center with $12 million in equipment during the early development stages in 2005. Evaluations will be headed by Mark Poliks, who serves as Endicott’s director of research and CAMM’s technical director, and S3IP’s director, Bahgat Sammakia.
“Our unique working partnerships have resulted in a facility that offers the opportunity to develop new technology and manufacturing capability for low-cost, high-function electronic systems on flexible substrates,” says Jay McNamara, president and CEO of Endicott. “This technology will be the backbone of tomorrow’s electronics.”
In addition to Endicott, CAMM’s corporate partners include companies such as General Electric, Texas Instruments, and Corning, as well as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, NASA, and the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation.