HIPIMS technology underpins commercial success
High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering is a technology which uses short, very high power pulses to apply protective coatings to a range of different surfaces.
For the last four years, the research team, headed by Dr Arutiun Ehiasarian in the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI), has been working with German company Oerlikon Balzers to help them introduce the HIPIMS technology into their coating machine manufacturing portfolio for deposition of miniturised silicon wafers.
'Essentially what the HIPIMS technology allows is the opportunity to join mini chips together without the need for wires, thus making it possible to create smaller and smaller devices,' said Arutiun.
'This process, known as 3D-integrated wafer packaging (3D-IC), is increasingly popular in manufacturing and, Oerlikon Balzers now have a 70 per cent share of the market for the machines used for interconnecting chips. The new HIPIMS technology will allow them to remain ahead in this competitive market.
'The HIPIMS technology makes it possible to link a number of small chips through deep holes (through-silicon vias) within them, connecting them all together to make a complete device. It's a very exciting development which opens up the way to developing much smaller devices.'