Semiconductor Motion Solutions: A Comprehensive Guide

July 2, 2024

Semiconductor Motion Solutions

In the highly advanced world of semiconductor equipment manufacturing, achieving precision, safety, and reliability is paramount. Magnetic technology plays a crucial role in enabling motion solutions that drive these critical operations. This article delves into the application of magnetic technology in semiconductor equipment motion solutions, highlighting key considerations and best practices for manufacturing these intricate magnetic assemblies.


Rotary Motors: Rotating equipment is ubiquitous across various semiconductor applications. The efficient operation of these systems often relies on the strategic integration of magnetic technologies, including permanent magnets and electromagnetics. Examples include canned motors in excimer lasers, turbomolecular pumps, chemical pumps, and rotating magnetrons in PVD systems.

Linear Motors: Instead of producing rotational torque, linear motors generate linear force along their length. They are commonly used in wafer and reticle stages, as well as wire bonding applications.

Magnetic Couplings:

Rotary and linear actuators powered by magnetic couplings address a wide range of motion requirements within semiconductor equipment, such as sample and wafer handlers, beamline filters, wire scanners, gas mixing, chemical pumps, and sputter source adjustments. Magnetic couplings eliminate the need for seals, allowing for torque and motion transfer through non-magnetic barriers.

Key features of magnetic couplings include:

  • Single-piece vacuum enclosure for leak-free performance
  • Magnetic shielding for magnetically sensitive environments
  • Bakeability up to 250°C (including magnets)
  • High torque-to-size ratio
  • Low backlash under low load and acceleration
  • Hollow variants for stacking concentric drives

Magnetic Bearings:

Magnetic bearings support loads using magnetic levitation, enabling moving parts to operate without physical contact. This eliminates friction and mechanical wear, making them suitable for high-speed applications like linear stages and turbomolecular pumps. Active magnetic bearings utilize electromagnets and require continuous power input and active control systems, while passive magnetic bearings use permanent magnets.

Eddy Current Couplings:

 Eddy current couplings, also known as eddy current drives or clutches, transfer torque or induce linear motion without mechanical contact between the driver and driven members. They rely on electromagnetic induction to achieve efficient and precise power transmission. Applications include vibration damping, thread and web tensioning, and braking.

Magnetic Sensing:

Magnetic sensors indirectly measure properties such as direction, position, rotation, angle, and current by detecting magnetic fields and their changes. They provide reliable data in adverse conditions like vacuum, vibration, moisture, hazardous gas, and oil. Variable reluctance, Hall effect, and reed switch sensors are widely used.

Manufacturing Best Practices:

Dexter’s deep knowledge of functional requirements, part fabrication, assembly, and cleanliness enable the manufacture of high-performance magnet assemblies for semiconductor customers. Key considerations include:

  • Precision machining and material selection for optimal magnetic properties
  • Quality control measures and controlled environments to prevent defects
  • Coatings and encapsulations for corrosion protection and environmental compatibility
  • Controlled magnetization processes and safety protocols
  • Cleanroom assembly with precision tools and operator training
  • Comprehensive testing and measurement protocols
  • Safe packaging solutions with magnetic shielding and handling instructions

By adhering to these guidelines and embracing best practices, manufacturers can navigate the complexities of manufacturing complex magnetic assemblies with confidence and precision, delivering products that meet the stringent demands of the semiconductor industry.

Reach out to our magnetic experts now!