SAN FRANCISCO – There has been little or no news in the wafer saw market for years.
Maybe decades. Japan’s Disco Corp. owns the market. Now, Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (Portland, Ore.) wants to change that, as it has entered the market.
ESI has unveiled its new 9900 system for ultra-thin wafer dicing. Announced at the Semicon West tradeshow here, ESI's fully automated 9900 system delivers die break strength (DBS) with a proprietary laser-based architecture for dicing ultra-thin silicon wafers at <50 microns.
This has advantages over traditional mechanical wafer saws. There are challenges with using traditional mechanical technology for dicing ultra-thin wafers due to cracking, chipping, and other yield and quality issues.
Traditional wafer sawing will continue to exist in the market, said Matthew Knowles, product marketing manager for ESI. But for ultra-thin wafers, there are damage and yield issues associated with traditional wafer saws, thereby requiring a laser solution, he said.
Taking a step into a new market, ESI last year purchased the intellectual property (IP) rights and certain hardware and software components from Xsil Ltd. Xsil developed advanced thin- wafer laser dicing systems.
ESI’s new 9900 combines the technologies from ESI and Xsil. The 9900 uses a precision-controlled laser with 355-nm wavelength output to the ultra-thin wafer surface. This enables manufacturers to minimize scribe line widths and produce more die per wafer. The system is geared for ultra-thin wafers in 3-D chip, memory and related applications.