4 Key Applications and Benefits of Glass Wafers

Glass is a widely used material in everyday life. It can be easily found being used in industries in a large quantity. All because of the attractive physical, electrical, and chemical properties, glass has gained a great amount of interest over the last few years. The numerous prospects of relevant and cost-efficient solutions that the glass material provides is also an added factor to its popularity. The application scope of glass in the market is huge and diversified.

What is Glass Wafers?

Glass wafers are thin layers of precision glass that are made of quartz, borosilicate or fused silica. It is mainly used as a substrate carrier for bonding silicon and other substrates for micro-electro-mechanical systems. They are mainly used to engineer displays and screens. The screens and displays used in phones, television, computers, vehicles and other smart devices, contains various layers of thin glass and every layer has a different function. It includes a protective layer, thin-film transistor backplane, and encapsulation glass. When all these layers function together, they produce the visuals that we see on screen. The demand for glass is growing considering the wide application areas through wafer processing. According to a research, mainly driven by wafer level packaging industry, the glass wafer market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 41 per cent over the period of five years.  It is easy to say now glass wafer price can provide multiple potentials in return.

Originally driven by the CMOS image sensor and other MEMS applications, the glass wafer market will be supported by other end applications such as logic IC, memory, and LED that can lead to its growing commercialization.

Advantages of Using Glass Wafers

Silicon wafers are a thin slice of crystal semiconductor, like a material that is made up of silicon crystal and is circular in shape. Glass wafers have multiple advantages over traditional silicon wafers that make them a popular choice these days. Some of the advantages are:

  • Glass material is an insulator that leads to less electrical loss and makes for a better choice.
  • As a result of effects of heat and damp, materials do become bent and twisted sometimes. An increased stiffness, thermal expansion or stability can help reduce the warping of materials. Glass wafers are known to have better warp management.
  • Glass wafers can be very thin while engineered that increases the potential to optimize process.
  • Due to its attribute of optical transparency, glass wafers enable visible inspection and other light based processing techniques. It initiates unique forming processes that eliminates fabrication steps completely.
  • No additional or special handling is required for glass wafers unlike silicon wafers thus they are comparatively cost effective. The silicon wafers must be refined to purity. The refining steps are very costly. It makes glass wafer price more beneficial.

The Key Applications of Glass Wafers

Glass wafers are used in many diversified industrial and technical applications, let us discuss some.

Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

The microelectronic mechanical systems and electronics industry use glass wafers as a substrate carrier in the fabrication process and wafer packaging. High-quality attributes such as chemical resistance and thermal stability, it is popularly chosen and demanded as a carrier substrate. In a microelectronic mechanical system, glass wafers are utilized in wafer packaging for sensitive elements. The superior functionality of glass wafers makes them extremely reliable over time and tough to face harsh environments.

Semiconductors

During the production of semiconductor wafers, glass wafers play the role of the carrier substrate. They are fabricated from more sensitive materials that tend to warp easily. The glass substrate makes it easy for the semiconductor wafers to be handled safely in spite of being thin and delicate. Due to its thermal and chemical stability and the possibility of reuse, glass wafers are cost-effective and environment-friendly for some applications. As the market of IoT keeps expanding rapidly, the glass wafer semiconductor market is expected to grow at six percent between 2018 to 2022, as semiconductor wafers are widely used in multiple MEMS and other electronics that have IoT connectivity.

Biotechnology

Glass wafers are highly used in a variety of biotechnology applications. Borosilicate glass is considered a quality option for medical devices as it is super resistant to heat, energy, damp such as within x-ray equipment. The quality of optical transparency of glass wafers makes them a quality choice for biotechnology applications.

Integrated Circuit (IC) Packaging

Glass wafers are utilized in multiple integrated circuit packaging applications. Acting as a substrate, it is known to deliver superior performance and cost-efficiency. Due to the stiffness and roughness of glass wafers, it protects the integrated circuit from any harsh impact or corrosion and connects to the external circuits.  

Thanks to the highly connected devices through the buzzing technology IoT (Internet of Things), the semiconductor industry is believed to push limits. And the market of glass wafers is expected to continue growing at the same pace. With superior strength and quality, glass wafers will continue to be the best choice in the market.