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Die singulation, also known as wafer dicing, is reviewed in terms of the brief history, critical challenges, characterization of singulation quality, different singulation technologies and underlying mechanisms, and post-singulation die strength enhancement. Mechanical blade dicing has been the workhorse of die separation in the semiconductor manufacturing process. It faces growing challenges due to the adoption of copper/low-k dielectric interconnect structures, thin and ultra-thin wafers, die attach films, narrow dicing streets, and complex stacked structures on the dicing streets. Key dicing quality characteristics are chipping, delamination, kerf geometry, die side wall damage, die surface contamination, and die strength degradation. Various die singulation technologies have been developed to address these challenges and quality issues, including dicing by thinning, laser based approaches, laser and mechanical hybrid method, and plasma dicing. Die strength is a critical parameter for thin and ultra-thin dies. Post-dicing die strength enhancement is becoming the complement of most dicing technologies to achieve dies with high fracture strength. Plasma dicing has the potential to achieve much higher die strengths than all the other dicing approaches.
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures (Volume:30 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Jul 2012