A study on separating of a silicon wafer with moving laser beam by using thermal stress cleaving technique
This study describes the characteristics of separating a silicon wafer with a moving Nd:YAG laser beam by using a thermal stress cleaving technique. The applied laser energy produces a thermal stress that causes the wafer to split along the irradiation path. The wafer separation is similar to crack extension. In this study, the micro-groove was prepared at the leading edge of the silicon wafer to facilitate the fracture. In order to study the thermal effect in the separating process, the temperature at the laser spot was measured by using a two-color pyrometer with an optical fiber, and the mechanism of crack propagation was observed by using an acoustic emission (AE) sensor. The influence of the micro-groove length and depth was also examined. Thermal stress distribution was calculated using the finite-element method (FEM) by considering the temperature from the experimental result. The result indicates that the wafer separation occurred in two stages, fracture initiation and intermittent crack propagation. A higher temperature resulted in faster fracture initiation and higher repetition of the crack propagation signal. The wave mark on the cleaved surface was consistent with the AE signal. The influences of laser power, temperature and the groove parameters to the fracture initiation, crack propagation and cleaved surface features are explained based on the experimental results, while the thermal stress condition is clarified with FEM analysis.