Carbon Nanotubes for Electronics Manufacturing and Packaging: From Growth to Integration
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) possess excellent electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. They are light in weight yet stronger than most of the other materials. They can be made both highly conductive and semi-conductive. They can be made from nano-sized small catalyst particles and extend to tens of millimeters long. Since CNTs emerged as a hot topic in the early 1990s, numerous research efforts have been spent on the study of the various properties of this new material. CNTs have been proposed as alternative materials of potential excellence in a lot of applications such as electronics, chemical sensors, mechanical sensors/actuators and composite materials, etc. This paper reviews the use of CNTs particularly in electronics manufacturing and packaging field. The progresses of three most important applications, including CNT-based thermal interface materials, CNT-based interconnections and CNT-based cooling devices are reviewed. The growth and post-growth processing of CNTs for specific applications are introduced and the tailoring of CNTs properties, i.e., electrical resistivity, thermal conductivity and strength, etc., is discussed with regard to specific application requirement. As the semiconductor industry is still driven by the need of getting smaller and faster, CNTs and the related composite systems as emerging new materials are likely to provide the solution to the future challenges as we make more and more complex electronics devices and systems.