Can you use XTPL printing method to repair broken conductive paths (so-called Open Defects)?
Yes, XTPL has developed an innovative printing head with dedicated nanoinks that allow defects in conductive paths to be repaired at low cost, with precision and speed unparalleled to any other existing solution.
The weakness of modern electronics lies in the fact that fine conductive structures in micro and nano scale used in integrated circuits, LCD and OLED displays, solar cells, advanced PCBs, etc. are highly prone to damage. Defects occur already at the production stage – the most common ones are: conductive paths broken due to a local lack of conductive material (open defects) and the narrowing of conductive paths (near open defects), which occurs when the width or height of the conductive path is less than required. This narrowing can degrade to complete breaking of path due to further production processes or exploitation. Removal of such defects is a multi-step and costly process, but in fact the repair is necessary in most cases as conductive electrodes are used in semi-finished products whose production price represents a significant proportion (even 50–70%) of the final product cost.
In addition, this problem is aggravated by the constant pursuit of miniaturization of electronic devices. This applies, for example, to integrated circuits – as they become smaller and smaller, it is increasingly complex to edit and repair metallic paths. Currently, the only developed method of editing structures with a width of less than 1 um is Focused Ion Beam (FIB). However, this method is not suitable for editing metallic paths with a length above 100 um, characterized by low electrical resistance. Moreover, it damages active electronic systems in integrated circuits (electrostatic discharge defects) and has other shortcomings which make it difficult or even impossible to repair integrated circuit.
In addition to FIB, other standard technologies for removing production defects include LVCD (Laser Chemical Vapour Deposition) and DLD (Direct Laser Deposition). All of these methods have their serious drawbacks: LVCD and FIB are extremely complex, LVCD and DLD provide only a limited possibility to obtain paths below 10 um while LCVD uses toxic and hazardous gases. Furthermore, all these three methods require a long repair time.
XTPL unique technology eliminates all disadvantages of the existing methods, and responds to the needs of the electronics industry in this regard as it allows broken conductive lines to be repaired already at the production stage, without complicated, slow and costly processes. Combined with optical detection systems already used in the market, our technology is a comprehensive solution to be implemented on production lines for e.g. solar cells, LCD and OLED displays, PCBs, MCM modules and integrated circuits.
XTPL solution takes into account all the requirements of the manufacturers: the greater overall length and smaller width of conductive lines with a simultaneous reduction of the distance between them, the need for reducing mechanical, thermal and electromagnetic stress in the production and repair processes, as well as increasing the cost-effectiveness. Our technology will ensure low-cost removal of production defects as well as high performance in industrial applications and no need for using toxic substances.