January 31--Synova announced tool orders from a Korean organic light-emitting diode (OLED) manufacturer and a leading U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturer's Korean facility. The first order was placed for the company's Laser Stenciling System, LSS 1200, for OLED mask manufacturing, and the second for the company's Laser Grinding System, LGS 200A, for thin wafer edge grinding. Both orders mark Synova's penetration into the Korean market.
The order wins replace traditional cutting and grinding methods used in each of the manufacturers' respective processes. For OLED mask manufacturing, the LSS 1200 supplants chemical etching for mask cutting. While chemical etching is the dominant approach, the method faces significant challenges in accuracy, feature size limitations, flexibility, and fab footprint. As OLEDs continue to advance in both efficiency and size, a novel approach (such as the laser waterjet) is required to continue to reach new heights while remaining cost effective.
Similarly, the challenges apply to semiconductor wafer manufacturing where damage and process inflexibility can become costly and limiting issues. To this end, the order for the LGS 200A for installation at the Korea-based semiconductor manufacturing facility will displace the use of incumbent grinding wheels--the traditional, more aggressive and damage-prone process, particularly when used on thin wafers. Moreover, it is a slow and inflexible approach that leaves particles from the cut behind. The Laser MicroJet eliminates these issues, grinding wafers without causing chips and micro-cracks at the wafer's edge, while reducing any mechanical stress that would weaken the wafer for the remaining manufacturing steps. Moreover, the water jet expels any residues from the wafer's edge alleviating concerns about contamination, ultimately increasing manufacturers' yield.
In related news, Synova is increasing its presence in Korea with the opening of a new Micromachining Center (MMC) in Seoul. The MMC, planned to open in March this year, will serve as a competence center for demonstration, sample testing, and application development.