Finetech and ITRI Co-operate to Promote New Developments in µLED Display Technologies
Taiwanese Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is a world-wide leading facility for research, testing and commercialization of New Technologies. One of the hot topics they're currently working on in the field of information and communication technology is an advanced display technology based on µLED components.
For the purpose of refining transfer and assembly processes which allow the economic production of µLED based displays for the consumer market, ITRI and Finetech have recently agreed on an 18 month co-operation project. During this period, Finetech provides free of charge a semi-automated micro assembly platform FINEPLACER® sigma specifically equipped and configured for µLED array assembly.
The core feature is the new, powerful Vision Alignment System FPXvisionTM designed for a high-resolution representation of smallest structures across large object fields. As a first in a manual micro assembly system, FPXvisionTM comes with pattern recognition enabling a unique alignment verification to the operator. In this way, components can be reproducibly aligned as precise as 0.1 µm.
Additionally, the FINEPLACER® sigma is equipped with high-speed top and bottom heating and specifically adapted self-balancing pick and place tools. A Formic Acid Module provides the process gas required to reduce oxide layers and optimize the bonding results.
In return, Finetech as an equipment manufacturer will be involved at an early stage and has a great opportunity to gather first-hand information on display manufacturing processes of tomorrow. The valuable insights in this exciting new technology will be used to further optimize the FINEPLACER® sigma and other FINEPLACER® systems, enabling adaptations and new equipment solutions beneficial for all Finetech customers.
Also, the FINEPLACER® sigma, which is located on the ITRI research campus, will be used as an easy-to-reach demo machine for Taiwanese Finetech customers.
µLED – Exciting New Display Technology Comes with Challenges
µLED based displays are energy-saving and enable particularly high resolution on small areas. Using µLED components is a promising technology when it comes to improving display solutions for smartwatches, smartphones and other mobile devices.
Single µLED components can be as small as 15-30 µm and often have sophisticated structures or shapes. And not only are the components tiny and fragile, additional challenges are presented with very thin Die Attach Foils (DAF) or solder preforms used to connect the assemblies. Once the number of µLED in a product surpasses a critical amount, economic considerations require that the components are handled simultaneously in the form of µLED arrays instead of placing and bonding them one after the other. Also, this allows using µLED with even smaller dimensions which could no longer be handled safely as single components. Depending on the intended resolution, a square inch of the display can be populated by several thousand µLED components.
During the transfer of the µLED array, it is mandatory to ensure co-planarity across the entire array. In order for the display to function properly, all contacts of all µLED components (≤ 5 µm) have to be precisely aligned and bonded onto the substrate with a defined force.
Finetech has longtime experience in the development of high-precision placement and bonding systems used to assemble single µLEDs in a reproducible way. With the FINEPLACER® sigma and the fully-automated FINEPLACER® femto 2, Finetech has extended its portfolio of sub-micron bonders which allow transferring this know-how to innovative solutions for the handling and assembly of arrayed µLED components in process development, prototyping, and production.