A process for effectively bonding arbitrary size or shape substrates. The process incorporates vacuum pull down techniques to ensure uniform surface contact during the bonding process. The essence of the process for bonding substrates, such as glass, plastic, or alloys, etc., which have a moderate melting point with a gradual softening point curve, involves the application of an active vacuum source to evacuate interstices between the substrates while at the same time providing a positive force to hold the parts to be bonded in contact. This enables increasing the temperature of the bonding process to ensure that the softening point has been reached and small void areas are filled and come in contact with the opposing substrate. The process is most effective where at least one of the two plates or substrates contain channels or grooves that can be used to apply vacuum between the plates or substrates during the thermal bonding cycle. Also, it is beneficial to provide a vacuum groove or channel near the perimeter of the plates or substrates to ensure bonding of the perimeter of the plates or substrates and reduce the unbonded regions inside the interior region of the plates or substrates.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.