What are the applications of lasers in semiconductor manufacturing?

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By 2028, the global AI healthcare market is expected to reach $120 billion. Today’s medical devices can be made smaller and support a variety of new functions, and these innovations are thanks to the continuous development of semiconductor technology. Semiconductors are an integral part of the inner workings of medical devices, contributing to the conductivity between non-conductors and conductors to control current. But on the contrary, as the equipment is becoming smaller and smaller, the semiconductor is rapidly miniaturized to adapt to these smaller devices, and the assembly process of making the perfect semiconductor is very detailed, among which the laser is widely used in the micro-machining manufacturing of semiconductor parts, such as cutting, welding, marking and so on, because of its thin technology, high precision and high efficiency.

Application of semiconductor cutting and scribing

The use of laser cutting in the processing of the chip can ensure the quality, accuracy and cleanliness of the chip cutting, and can meet the cutting needs of various shapes and materials, traditional cutting not only can not meet the requirements of accuracy and efficiency, but also may damage the performance of the parts. A Columbia University study material on semiconductor laser processing notes that “advantages of laser cutting include reduced material loss around the cut, increased yield due to reduced breakage, and faster turnover due to ease of fixation.”

An alternative to cutting is marking – drilling a series of closely spaced or overlapping blind holes in the material. This is a method widely used in semiconductor manufacturing applications, such as cutting alumina substrates into chip carriers or separating silicon wafers into chips. It is worth noting that the type of laser required for marking depends on the material used. “Alumina scribing uses a carbon dioxide laser, while silicon scribing uses Nd:YAG lasers because different materials have different absorption rates at different wavelengths,” the university said. The motivation for using scribing and cutting depends on the speed at which action takes place on the manufacturing floor. “For aluminum oxide with a thickness of about 0.025 inches, a medium power CO2 laser can line the material at a rate of about 10 inches per second, while for a similar laser the cutting rate may be a few tenths of an inch per second,” the university staff wrote. “Scribing also offers the advantage that the substrate can be scribed before processing is complete and then easily separated into chips after processing.”

Application of semiconductor welding

The combination of all parts is necessary, so there is welding. Laser welding is the process of melting adjacent parts of a semiconductor component together, much like securing a wafer to a support plate. For support plates ready for bonding, the laser marks the frame with an identifying mark and then roughens the surface to ensure that the two pieces are firmly bonded together. It is with this precision welding that you have the perfect parts.

Common laser types

Most companies use solid-state lasers for chip manufacturing, which are known for their high power and use ore as the laser medium. The laser beam is produced using an oscillator that stimulates the medium with light emitted by a laser diode. One type of solid-state laser used for chip marking, engraving, and cutting is a fiber laser, and high-speed lasers use “fiber as a resonator and create overlapping structures through fiber cladding doped with Yb ions.” “Fiber lasers are used to remove burrs, mark traceability codes, and remove resins.” Excimer lasers are also used in semiconductor manufacturing. These are deep ultraviolet (UV) lasers with wavelengths from 126 nm to 351 nm and are primarily used for polymer micromachining. The UV laser beam is shorter than the solid state, making it suitable for any type of material, including very fragile and delicate materials, and can work in a very small precise area with fewer points of application. When used for marking, the UV laser alters the structure of the product material at the molecular level without generating heat in the surrounding area.

Laser cutting has been widely used in many precision industries such as medical devices, semiconductors, electronics and 3C, because of the high precision, high efficiency and high quality of laser cutting, it has gradually replaced some traditional cutting and welding equipment, and is widely used in more industries.

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