This publication provides an overview and discusses some challenges of surface tension directed fluidic self-assembly of semiconductor chips which are transported in a liquid medium. The discussion is limited to surface tension directed self-assembly where the capture, alignment, and electrical connection process is driven by the surface free energy of molten solder bumps where the authors have made a contribution. The general context is to develop a massively parallel and scalable assembly process to overcome some of the limitations of current robotic pick and place and serial wire bonding concepts. The following parts will be discussed: (2) Single-step assembly of LED arrays containing a repetition of a single component type; (3) Multi-step assembly of more than one component type adding a sequence and geometrical shape confinement to the basic concept to build more complex structures; demonstrators contain (3.1) self-packaging surface mount devices, and (3.2) multi-chip assemblies with unique angular orientation. Subsequently, measures are discussed (4) to enable the assembly of microscopic chips (10 μm–1 mm); a different transport method is introduced; demonstrators include the assembly of photovoltaic modules containing microscopic silicon tiles. Finally, (5) the extension to enable large area assembly is presented; a first reel-to-reel assembly machine is realized; the machine is applied to the field of solid state lighting and the emerging field of stretchable electronics which requires the assembly and electrical connection of semiconductor devices over exceedingly large area substrates.
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