Description: The Naval Research Laboratory has developed a laser-based device-transfer process for placing/embedding on any surface millimeter- to micrometer-size structures, such as semiconductor bare die, surface-mount and optoelectronic devices, sensors, actuators, and microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS). The NRL Lase and PlaceTM process begins by mounting the components to be transferred on a laser-transparent support using an intermediate sacrificial polymer layer. Upon exposure to pulsed laser light, the sacrificial layer is ablated, and the generated vapor releases a single component and propels it from the support to the desired surface location. The technique is less likely to cause damage to fragile components compared to the mechanical “pick and place” process and has been demonstrated capable of transferring 10-µm thick bare die, which is impossible to achieve with the current mechanical process. Laser direct-write processes can also be used to create a depression, or pocket, in which the component is embedded and to print electrical interconnects to the part after it is in place, thereby combining the work of several tools into one.

Advantages/Features Include:

  • Fast: potential for placing >100 components/second with accurate lateral position
  • Capable of transferring smaller, thinner, more fragile components
  • Readily places dissimilar devices or structures next to each other for multi-chip module or system-in-a-package applications
  • More flexible configuration; place components in locations not possible with conventional methods, such as non-planar surfaces.

Applications Include:

  • Embedded electronics
  • Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs) and Hybrid Integrated Circuits


  • "Manufacturing Microelectronics Using Lase-and-PlaceTM," Photonics Spectra 41 (2007) 70-74.
  • "Assembly and Integration of Thin Bare Die Using Laser Direct-Write," SPIE Proceedings 6458 (2007) 1-10.

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