PEEK plastic

Why Use PEEK?

Wet Benches

PEEK is a highly chemical resistant plastic so it is often used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The semiconductor manufacturing process involves six steps: deposition, photoresist, lithography, etch, ionization and packaging.  Screws, spacers, washers, bearings, rollers and custom parts made from PEEK are often used in the assembly of wet benches. These machines are used in the photoresist process in which silicon wafers are etched to make semiconductors using a mixture of hydrofluoric, nitric and acetic acids. This mixture is also known as HNA. Metal screws and some other plastics would disintegrate in a combination of these acids and the the resultant particulate would damage the chips. But for PEEK this is not a issue.

Plasma or Dry Etching

Plasma etching or dry etching is the etching process performed with plasma instead of a liquid. Dry etching is the removal of material from a surface via a plasma process. In the process, you do not really deposit a layer on the surface of the substrate. For the plasma etching to occur, the pressure chamber has to be at a certain pressure. The dry etching process can be divided into two types: microwave plasma etching and hydrogen plasma etching. Both processes are currently being used to process semiconducting materials into ICUs.

PEEK is used in the assembly of plasma chambers for the dry etching of semiconductors. This material is of very high purity with low-out gassing. Also it tolerates an electrical charge.

What is Polyetherether Ketone?

PEEK stands for polyetherether ketone and belongs to the polyaryletherketone family. It is an organic semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer. Semi-crystalline plastics have a highly ordered molecular structure. This plastic has extraordinary mechanical and chemical properties as well as excellent abrasion and wear resistance. It has excellent sliding properties which results in a low coefficient of friction. Certain parts made of PEEK can operate without lubricants.

Also it is flame retardant with a V-0 burn rate. Also it is not affected by water and can maintain excellent properties in high temperature and in high pressure water conditions. This material has a continuous operating temperature of 260 °C/500 °F. Additionally it is also radiation resistant.

Polyetherether Ketone Parts

PEEK is also used to fabricate wafer carriers, test sockets, CMP rings, FOUPs and other tools used in semiconductor manufacturing.

PEEK parts for semiconductor applications can be made through injection molding or CNC machining. Because this material is semi-crystalline it has a sharp melting point. So when it absorbs enough heat the polymer will become a low viscosity liquid that can be injected into a mold. Molded and machined parts allow for copy exact requirements. Machining also results in high accuracy and repeatability.

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