Synova, Disco to develop hybrid dicing tool

June 13, 2007 – Swiss firm Synova SA and the German subsidiary of Japan’s Disco Corp. say they are developing a hybrid dicing tool that combines Synova’s Laser Microjet water-jet-guided laser technology with Disco’s blade-saw dicing technology, to give semiconductor customers a high-throughput tool that minimizes damage to silicon and advanced-material wafers.

Chipping, microcracks, and peeling of metal or oxide layers during sawing represents a major issue in wafer dicing, the companies explained. Further, new wafer materials with complex layers are more brittle and damage prone during traditional dicing processes. The new tool will optimize both Disco Hi-Tech Europe GmbH’s dicing saw for bulk silicon wafer cutting and Synova’s LMJ for surface layers, which require more accurate/delicate processing.

Bernold Richerzhagen, CEO of Synova, noted that the hybrid tool will be “designed for semiconductors any kind of semiconductor material” including Si, Ge, and any composites, targeting dicing, scribing, and grooving applications “for wafers of any thickness.” For example, in a dicing-before-grinding application, it could be used to dice the thin wafer after grinding. It could also be used to dice delicate MEMS structures to reduce the mechanical stress induced by the saw when dicing wafers with sensitive and brittle Si structures.

The hybrid machine will be able to dice up to 300mm wafers in fully automatic mode with both processes in one machine in a flexible way, or to be used solely as a saw or LMJ, depending on the application, explained Richerzhagen. The companies expect to introduce the hybrid tool sometime later this year.

Synova’s LMJ cutting process combines a laser beam and a water jet, where a hair-thin water jet guides the laser beam on to the wafer. The beam is completely reflected at the air/water interface, similar in principle to an optical fiber. The water jet cools the material surface for optimal protection against thermal damage, and acts as a natural layer of protection to prevent deposition or contamination.

The Synova-Disco cooperation is “limited strictly to joint-development work with DISCO’s blade,” providing the framework for collaborative R&D efforts to integrate Synova’s core technology into DISCO’s systems, the companies emphasized.

With additional reporting by Advanced Packaging.


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