Increasing research activity in Asia-Pacific stokes opportunities for partnerships, finds Frost & Sullivan's TechVision team
LONDON, Feb. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Microfluidics is reshaping the healthcare and electronics industry, generating a large market for ecologically compatible adhesives. The production of non-toxic, low temperature adhesives is a challenge, but manufacturers are encouraged by the wide adoption of negative photoresist over the past ten years. Materials, such as off stoichiometry thiolene-epoxy, OSTE are being developed and introduced as a result of rich funding and investment, especially in North America and Europe. This as a result is enabling microfluidics to become a lucrative field and is fostering numerous mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.
With the evolution of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), there is high interest in new wafer bonding and packaging methods, especially for lab-on-chip (LOC) devices. As adhesive bonding is currently the one of the most effective and low-cost fabrication technique for MEMS, manufacturers and foundries are restructuring adhesive properties and exploring novel methods of patterning and bonding.
"Adhesives that can be easily patterned and bond dissimilar wafers at a wide temperature range, and simultaneously offer biocompatibility, are disrupting the wafer packaging market," noted Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Sanchari Chatterjee. "This is aiding the fabrication of robust and flexible low-cost devices for DNA analysis and immunoassays."
Adhesives for Microfluidics-Technology Assessment, a recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan's TechVision (Chemicals and Advanced Materials) Growth Partnership Service programme, finds that adhesives for microfluidics are a niche technology, and research in Europe and North America mostly consists of basic academic-level experiments or in-house research by smaller companies. Asia-Pacific is buzzing with research activity, but stakeholders fiercely guard their technologies.
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Asia-Pacific has emerged as the research hub for wafer packaging. Countries such as Taiwan and China are already trying to boost the production volume of MEMS and adopt practices to hasten the fabrication process. End users are also showing a marked preference to partner with Asian foundries to gain access to cost-efficient and large-scale manufacturing technologies.
"In addition to the concentration of research activity in Asia, the high costs and complexity in manufacturing in Europe and even USA can impede business development," noted Chatterjee. "Consequently, foundries are attempting to develop adhesives that increase the ease and scale of MEMS manufacturing. They are employing spin-compatible adhesives to address some of the traditional challenges, such as a lack of advanced equipment, long cure times, and heterogeneity in glue uniformity."
The current scope of application of adhesives is limited to specific industry; therefore, adhesives with the widest end-use scope are the ones that are most likely to find uptake. Other advantages that could attract buyers and set the stage for more advanced innovations include:
- cost effectiveness;
- uniform topography of the wafer scale;
- high temperature bonding;
- long pot life;
- stronger adhesion.
Frost & Sullivan's global TechVision practice is focused on innovation, disruption and convergence, and provides a variety of technology-based alerts, newsletters and research services as well as growth consulting services. Its premier offering, the TechVision programme, identifies and evaluates the most valuable emerging and disruptive technologies enabling products with near-term potential. A unique feature of the TechVision programme is an annual selection of 50 technologies that can generate convergence scenarios, possibly disrupt the innovation landscape, and drive transformational growth. View a summary of our TechVision program by clicking on the following link: http://ifrost.frost.com/TechVision_Demo.
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