The TLS-Dicing Technology

Thermal Laser Separation (TLS-Dicing) is a fast, clean and cost effective alternative to separate semiconductor materials. TLS wafer dicing is an interesting alternative to the established mechanical dicing saws and has many advantages compared to other competing technologies:

  • High separation speed (e.g. for SiC 200 mm/s or 300 mm/s for Si)
  • Very smooth edges (e.g. to reduce the leakage current of diodes)
  • Clean and nearly dry process
  • Nearly no chipping and micro cracks for less breakage
  • Thin back side metal can be separated without damages
  • No tool wear
  • Reduces Cost of Ownership due to no tool wear and nearly no consumables
  • Zero Kerf cleaving process for reduced street width

The process uses thermally induced mechanical forces to separate (cleave) brittle semiconductor materials such as silicon, SiC and GaAs. By using a defined stress field due to laser-based heating and subsequent water cooling, one single crack is guided through, e.g., silicon wafers to separate the individual chips.

TLS-Dicing is a two-step process: A punctiform predefined cleaving point is realized with a diamond tool tip or an ablation laser at the edge of a sample to be cut. The separation process is done by laser-based heating and subsequent water cooling.

TLS-Dicing for semiconductor industry

Wafer-Dicing implies the separation of a processed wafer in individual dies or chips. Each wafer can contain between a few up to several thousand individual fully functional dies after the finalisation of all front end processes. These dies need to be separated. The most common separation method is a mechanical dicing saw. Because of the wide application range and the related product requirements, more and more alternative processes are being introduced to overcome the weaknesses of dicing saws, e.g. the TLS-Dicing technology. Another promising application for TLS-Dicing is the separation of solar cells in smaller sub cells, e.g. to reduce the current by serial connection.

TLS-Dicing is a unique technology within the semiconductor market. The achieved results very high expectations of semi experts are verified by two important awards for the TLS-Dicing technology: On SEMICON West 2008, a jury of top-class experts elected TLS for the “Best of West Award 2008”. In 2009 the system was awarded with the “Euro-Asia IC Industry Award” – Category Back-end. In 2013 TLS-Dicing was also honored with the Georg Waeber Innovation Award.