The assembly materials and assembly techniques used in semiconductor packaging have been adopted for solar assembly, especially back end assembly.
This is a new revelation to me. After a long week in San Francisco for the Semicon West trade show
, I wound down this weekend and am now evaluating my follow-up items and realizing what a great show this was and how much I learned!
Personally, I have been absent from the trade show scene for a couple months and wasn't certain what level of attendance to expect; however, I was pleasantly surprised. The Semicon West show was appropriately tied together with Intersolar
, and the cross-over attendance was striking. Until now, I was familiar with the materials and processes used in semiconductor assembly manufacturing as well as those used in solar assembly, but didn't realize how much these two industries have in common.
As one example, soldering in solar assembly is done using some of the most common alloys found in semiconductor assembly, SAC and Sn/Ag. Jim Hisert posted an article on his solar materials science blog
about the use of these Pb-free solder alloys. In back end solar assembly, Pb-free alloys are screen printed in the form of a solder paste using a similar technique to that of the solder pastes used in semiconductor assembly.
Another example of this cross-over can be seen in the exhibitor list for Intersolar. Many of the companies who have exhibited at Semicon West in the past or are regularly involved in manufacturing semiconductor assembly equipment, have moved to or added a second booth to attract the attendees at Intersolar. Examples of those I am familiar with from my semiconductor experience and noted at the Intersolar show include:
Indium Corporation also presented at both the Semicon West show and Intersolar.