Sealing in Capsule for Handling Semiconductor Wafers

Sealing in Capsule for Handling Semiconductor Wafers

Sealing in Capsule for Handling Semiconductor Wafers

Sealing system from Trelleborg Sealing Solutions proves to provide leak-tight sealing in unique Cyclop Sealing™ capsule for handling of extremely thin semiconductor wafers.

The Cyclop Sealing™ capsule from AP&S, a company that specializes in wet process solutions for the semiconductor industry, is a newly developed unique one-size fits all media-tight carrying system for thin wafer processing.

Suitable for any semiconductor fabrication line

Cyclop Sealing™ capsule can be added, with only minor modifications to existing processing tools, to any semiconductor fabrication line. This avoids the need for major expenditure on new equipment for processing thinner wafers. In tests its sealing system, jointly developed with Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, is proven to have a leakage rate below 0.1 percent even after life-time testing of opening and closing cycles.

Image shows Cyclop Sealing™ capsules being handled in a cassette

“Our unique Cyclop Sealing™ capsule can be simply installed within any existing semiconductor fabrication line and allows thin wafers to be run in processes otherwise thought impossible,” says Michael Sowa, Chief Marketing Officer, AP&S. “In practise our customers are finding the Cyclops Sealing™ capsule is making thin wafer processes more stable and ultimately more profitable.”

Sealing system is vital to the capsule's function

Vital to the capsule’s function is its sealing system (patent pending) jointly engineered with Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, a leading global seal developer and manufacturer. This protects the substrate from unwanted process influences and also any damage caused by forceful closing of the capsule.

The Cyclop Sealing™ capsule consists of six components, the front ring, rear plate, locking ring and, making up the sealing system, three gaskets manufactured of specially developed sealing materials that are compatible with media commonly used in semiconductor processing. The gaskets are proven to give a leakage rate below 0.1 percent within the demanding environment of the capsule, operating at temperatures between +68°F and +194°F/+20°C and +90°C and in pressures from 7 to 29 psi/0.5 to 2 bar.

Image shows Cyclop Sealing™ capsule

Substantial research has been undertaken on the Cyclop Sealing™ capsule to make sure that it and its sealing system meet industry requirements.

In tests Cyclop Sealing™ capsule performed well

Tests evaluated:

  • Surface tension optimization
  • Temperature change stability
  • Mechanical stress due to media flow and relative movement
  • Influence on impermeability of structures on the substrate
  • Reliability over lifetime opening and closing cycles

In all tests the Cyclop Sealing™ capsule performed well and met all the test criteria. Specifically in the opening and closing test the capsule underwent 2,600 automated opening and closing cycles without breach of the seal.


The trend is for semiconductor wafers to become thinner. This is being driven by a demand for chip cards and Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFIDs) with a low package height. Most significantly, recently developed device packaging schemes such as "chip-sized packages" used in miniaturized products and Systems in a Pack (SiP) using chip stack methods, are significantly smaller than conventional packages and require thinner semiconductor devices. Chip stack technology improves heat flow through the chip and through holes in the wafer direct interconnection is made to the adjacent die. This meets equipment makers’ requirements for increased speed and power.

Conventional techniques for handling semiconductor wafers during processing and in particular for transferring wafers between processing tools, typically involve standard-sized cassettes which hold a number of wafers at a time. This handling technique was developed for wafers that are rigid with typical thicknesses of about 250 μm or greater. The latest delicate thinner wafers, which are only about 100 μm and can even be down to 50 μm, need to be fitted to a rigid carrier to be handled.

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