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Processing Sapphires with Lasers

The range of applications for high-intensity LEDs has begun to expand. In addition to cell phones, they are used in liquid-crystal TV backlights, car headlights, and lighting. Mid- to long-term growth in the market is expected. When processing the sapphires used in high-intensity LEDs, separation using a diamond scriber and breaking has been the standard. However, as the market has grown, there has been strong demand for improved throughput and yield ratios. Laser processing has rapidly become more prevalent, and it is becoming the standard for processing sapphires for use in high-intensity LEDs.
This page describes sapphire processing using DISCO's laser saw.

Problems with Diamond Scribers
The following problems have been pointed out with regard to the conventional process of separation using diamond scribers and breaking:
- Variable processing quality : The yield ratio is not stable because the process is dependent on the operator's skill.
- Operating costs : It is necessary for the operator to always stay close to the equipment, which results in higher labor costs.
In addition, the disposable diamond tools are expensive; and further, they are used up quickly and have to be replaced often.
- Number of machines : Since throughput cannot be increased, a lot of machines are required.
Advantages of Processing Sapphires with Lasers
In terms of processing methods with lasers, there are ablation processing and a method that uses stealth dicing (see About Laser Processing Methods).
In comparison to the conventional processing method, using a laser saw to process sapphires maintains the same light intensity while having various advantages, such as improved throughput and yield ratios and reduced operating costs.
Sapphire Scribing Using Ablation Process (Fully Automated Process)
Figure 1. Sapphire Scribing Using Ablation Process (Fully Automated Process)
* The water-soluble protection film HogoMax coating function is optional.
Sapphire Processing Using Stealth Dicing
Figure 2. Sapphire Processing Using Stealth Dicing
- Improved Throughput

High feed speed, several times that of a diamond scriber, results in significantly improved throughput.

- Improved Yield Ratio

Simply by entering the processing parameters, it is possible to maintain consistent processing quality without relying on the operator's skill.

- Reduction in Operator's Duties

With a fully automated machine, full automation is possible just by entering the device data and setting a cassette onto the machine. It is possible to cut down on the time spent exchanging wafers and significantly reduce the operator labor and man-hours required with a diamond scriber.

Advantages of Processing Sapphires by Stealth Dicing
For high value-added devices requiring high light intensity, processing with stealth dicing, with which almost no reduction in intensity occurs, is ideal. Since separation is performed using internal processing, it is possible to narrow the street and to expect an increase in the number of possible die. And even if the substrate is thick, die separation which reduces the decrease in intensity is possible.

The respective advantages and disadvantages of processing sapphires using a diamond scriber or laser saw are as shown in the table below.
Advantages and Disadvantages by Processing
Figure 3. Advantages and Disadvantages by Processing
Examples of Sapphire Processing
Photo 1. Processing with Ablation
Processing with Ablation
Breaking after laser scribing
Photo 2. Processing with Stealth Dicing
Processing with Stealth Dicing
Breaking after stealth dicing
Machines for Processing Sapphires
Machines for Ablation Processing
For φ300 mm wafers
Fully automatic laser saw

Machine for Stealth Dicing
DFL7340(Sapphire specification)
For φ200 mm wafers and stealth dicing
Fully automatic laser saw


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