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News

Wafer produces first spot potential of microreplication

Tecan : 12 August, 2003  (New Product)
At its world-leading Microstructure Division in Dorset, UK, Tecan is experiencing significant interest from lateral thinking designers and OEMs due to its proven ability to produce ultra-fine electroformed parts for next-generation micro-applications. First-wave tangible acceptance of the technology is already being shown by wafer foundries and fabrication houses as they embrace the new techniques to produce duplicate 'families' for various undisclosed replication purposes.
At its world-leading Microstructure Division in Dorset, UK, Tecan is experiencing significant interest from lateral thinking designers and OEMs due to its proven ability to produce ultra-fine electroformed parts for next-generation micro-applications. First-wave tangible acceptance of the technology is already being shown by wafer foundries and fabrication houses as they embrace the new techniques to produce duplicate 'families' for various undisclosed replication purposes.

The Tecan process involves electroforming directly onto a 3-D silicon wafer original, usually supplied by the customer, to produce an exact mirror-image replica in nickel. If the original silicon is male or female, defined by the peaks and troughs of its profile, the nickel replica will be the opposite gender. In the case of a female silicon original, for example, the resultant nickel part will be a male, or 'father', and vice-versa. The process allows this nickel duplicate to be simply separated from the silicon and used for processing, as it is, or as a parent part from which mirror-image 'offspring' can be produced, these 'sons' or 'daughters' will have exactly the same form and gender as the original. This allows expensive silicon originals to be kept as perfect masters, from which any number of replicas, in any gender, can be produced at any time and at comparatively low cost.

This microreplication is one of the fastest growing areas of the company's electroforming business, which offers massive potential for the production of completely new products and processes in industries as diverse as medicine, pharmaceuticals, electronics, aerospace. At this stage, non-disclosure agreements exist with several industry-leading companies who are showing interest in the technology, precluding the publication of specific new applications and processes. However, wafer foundries and wafer fabrication companies appear to be particularly interested in the idea of using highly durable nickel replicas of silicon originals for various new-concept production processes.
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