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Case Studies

Multi-Stage Baking with Programmable Lift Pins

TL;DR Summary

Smart-Pin technology enables flexible temperature ramping and uniform baking for thermal shock sensitive materials. The lift pin height recipe utilizes a temperature matrix for soft bake, PEB, and post-develop hard bake. The programmable system eliminates the need for multiple bake plates and is suitable for thick-film materials and mitigating the “skin” effect.

Multi-Stage Baking with Programmable Lift Pins

Cee® Apogee® Bake Plates now incorporate Smart-Pins. The lift-pins utilize a motor that drives the lift-pins to a specific proximity height above the baking surface in any sequence or combination. The heights can be programmed in 0.1 mm increments, with an overall operating window from 0.1 mm to 19 mm. This feature allows flexible temperature ramping and can emulate several bake plate temperatures while maintaining a high degree of bake uniformity. Programmable lift pins are extremely valuable for the safe handling of thermal shock-sensitive materials such as gallium arsenide, lithium niobate, indium phosphide, gallium nitride, silicon carbide, sapphire, etc.

Lift Pin Height Recipe

Cost Effective Equipment product engineers have utilized the KLA-Tencor® SensArray 17-point measurement probe to measure, track, and record temperature conditions produced by Cee® bake plates. The engineers have performed these process trials and developed user-friendly temperature matrixes for a variety of common temperatures used for a soft bake (100°C), post-exposure bake (PEB), and post-develop hard bake (205°C) for final curing.

The charts below represent several temperatures and incremental descent from 15.2 mm to hard vacuum contact in downward steps in increments of 2.5-0.5 mm. Each positional height is allowed to stabilize for a period of 300 seconds (5 minutes), and uniformity is recorded at these heights.

Temperature vs Lift Pin Height
Temperature Uniformity

By eliminating the need for multiple bake plates, this programmable system is a cost-effective option in a space-saving design. This configuration is ideal for performing multi-stage baking, baking “from the inside out” for thick-film materials such as MicroChem SU-8 materials, MicroChem KMPR® materials, Shipley BPR™-100 photoresist, and Brewer Science® WaferBOND® HT-10.10 materials, and mitigating concerns associated with the “skin” effect.

The Cee® Apogee® Bake Plate product family brings together all these capabilities in a compact footprint designed for a lab-scale environment. Would you like to know more? Check out our related post on Bake Plate Process Theory or reach out to our sales team today!

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Cost Effective Equipment has been an industry benchmark since 1987 when we produced the world’s first semiconductor-grade benchtop bake plate for silicon wafer processing. In 1992 we launched another industry first with the Cee® Model 100 spin coater.

In the decades since, our product line has expanded to include spin-develop and spin-clean systems as well as wafer chill-plates, large area panel processing tools, and a complete line of temporary wafer bonders and debonders for laboratory and small volume production.

Headquartered in Saint James, Missouri USA, we're pleased to work through a network of trained international distributors to supply and support your needs.