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An Introduction to Getters

Advanced Getter Solutions for Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Modules

Sensitive optoelectronic and microelectronic devices and components demand protection. Hermetically sealed packaging provides an ideal environment for high-reliability hybrid designs in a range of harsh environments. These packages need to safeguard components against many environmental conditions. The inert sealing atmosphere (usually N2 or Ar) can be degraded over time from issues such as contamination, leakage, and outgassing, to name a few. The use of getters to adsorb contaminants plays a vital role within hermetic packages, with these specially designed reactive materials designed to maintain the qualities of the sealed environment over time.

What is a getter?

A getter is a specially designed material that's placed directly inside an inert sealed system as a form of additional protection. While a sealed environment is critical to safeguard microelectronic components and devices, many polymeric materials will outgas contaminants over time. Ensuring a dry and inert environment is just the first step, with the addition of specially designed getters also needed to ensure the long-term reliability and operational capacity of the product design.

The getter is normally a special coating applied to the inside surface of the package or cover (lid). Getters can remove problematic gases from the sealed package through the process of chemical reaction or physical absorption.

Moisture only getters often are based on high purity zeolite, a porous mineral where the pore size is compatible with water vapor molecules. Some getters combine moisture entrapment with the adsorption of other contaminant gasses with metal oxides matching the target gas. Regardless of the getter used, you need to maintain the internal atmosphere for a long time, with getters having the capacity to continually remove this residual gas as its being produced.

Looking for More?

Check out our Getters Overview datasheet & the Resource Center for more about getters.

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