US20030226830A1 - Scribing sapphire substrates with a solid state UV laser - Google Patents

Scribing sapphire substrates with a solid state UV laser Download PDF

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US20030226830A1
US20030226830A1 US10364587 US36458703A US2003226830A1 US 20030226830 A1 US20030226830 A1 US 20030226830A1 US 10364587 US10364587 US 10364587 US 36458703 A US36458703 A US 36458703A US 2003226830 A1 US2003226830 A1 US 2003226830A1
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Prior art keywords
system
laser
sapphire
substrate
stage
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Abandoned
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US10364587
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Kuo-ching Liu
Pei Fang
Dan Dere
Jenn Liu
Jih-Chuang Huang
Antonio Lucero
Scott Pinkham
Steven Oltrogge
Duane Middlebusher
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New Wave Research
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New Wave Research
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K26/00Working by laser beam, e.g. welding, cutting or boring
    • B23K26/36Removing material
    • B23K26/40Removing material taking account of the properties of the material involved
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K26/00Working by laser beam, e.g. welding, cutting or boring
    • B23K26/02Positioning or observing the workpiece, e.g. with respect to the point of impact; Aligning, aiming or focusing the laser beam
    • B23K26/03Observing, e.g. monitoring, the workpiece
    • B23K26/032Observing, e.g. monitoring, the workpiece using optical means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K26/00Working by laser beam, e.g. welding, cutting or boring
    • B23K26/02Positioning or observing the workpiece, e.g. with respect to the point of impact; Aligning, aiming or focusing the laser beam
    • B23K26/06Shaping the laser beam, e.g. by masks or multi-focusing
    • B23K26/062Shaping the laser beam, e.g. by masks or multi-focusing by direct control of the laser beam
    • B23K26/0622Shaping the laser beam, e.g. by masks or multi-focusing by direct control of the laser beam by shaping pulses
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K26/00Working by laser beam, e.g. welding, cutting or boring
    • B23K26/02Positioning or observing the workpiece, e.g. with respect to the point of impact; Aligning, aiming or focusing the laser beam
    • B23K26/06Shaping the laser beam, e.g. by masks or multi-focusing
    • B23K26/073Shaping the laser spot
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K26/00Working by laser beam, e.g. welding, cutting or boring
    • B23K26/36Removing material
    • B23K26/362Laser etching
    • B23K26/364Laser etching for making a groove or trench, e.g. for scribing a break initiation groove
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B28WORKING CEMENT, CLAY, OR STONE
    • B28DWORKING STONE OR STONE-LIKE MATERIALS
    • B28D5/00Fine working of gems, jewels, crystals, e.g. of semiconductor material; apparatus or devices therefor
    • B28D5/0005Fine working of gems, jewels, crystals, e.g. of semiconductor material; apparatus or devices therefor by breaking, e.g. dicing
    • B28D5/0011Fine working of gems, jewels, crystals, e.g. of semiconductor material; apparatus or devices therefor by breaking, e.g. dicing with preliminary treatment, e.g. weakening by scoring
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K2201/00Articles made by soldering, welding or cutting by applying heat locally
    • B23K2201/36Electric or electronic devices
    • B23K2201/40Semiconductor devices
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K2203/00Materials to be soldered, welded or cut
    • B23K2203/30Organic material
    • B23K2203/36Wood or similar materials
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23KSOLDERING OR UNSOLDERING; WELDING; CLADDING OR PLATING BY SOLDERING OR WELDING; CUTTING BY APPLYING HEAT LOCALLY, e.g. FLAME CUTTING; WORKING BY LASER BEAM
    • B23K2203/00Materials to be soldered, welded or cut
    • B23K2203/50Inorganic material, e.g. metals, not provided for in B23K2203/02 – B23K2203/26
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L21/00Processes or apparatus adapted for the manufacture or treatment of semiconductor or solid state devices or of parts thereof
    • H01L21/70Manufacture or treatment of devices consisting of a plurality of solid state components formed in or on a common substrate or of parts thereof; Manufacture of integrated circuit devices or of parts thereof
    • H01L21/77Manufacture or treatment of devices consisting of a plurality of solid state components or integrated circuits formed in, or on, a common substrate
    • H01L21/78Manufacture or treatment of devices consisting of a plurality of solid state components or integrated circuits formed in, or on, a common substrate with subsequent division of the substrate into plural individual devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L33/00Semiconductor devices with at least one potential-jump barrier or surface barrier specially adapted for light emission; Processes or apparatus specially adapted for the manufacture or treatment thereof or of parts thereof; Details thereof
    • H01L33/005Processes
    • H01L33/0095Post-treatments of the devices, e.g. annealing, recrystallisation, short-circuit elimination
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01SDEVICES USING STIMULATED EMISSION
    • H01S5/00Semiconductor lasers
    • H01S5/02Structural details or components not essential to laser action
    • H01S5/0201Separation of the wafer into individual elements, e.g. by dicing, cleaving, etching or directly during growth
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01SDEVICES USING STIMULATED EMISSION
    • H01S5/00Semiconductor lasers
    • H01S5/02Structural details or components not essential to laser action
    • H01S5/0206Substrates, e.g. growth, shape, material, removal or bonding
    • H01S5/0213Sapphire, quartz or diamond based substrates
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01SDEVICES USING STIMULATED EMISSION
    • H01S5/00Semiconductor lasers
    • H01S5/30Structure or shape of the active region; Materials used for the active region
    • H01S5/32Structure or shape of the active region; Materials used for the active region comprising PN junctions, e.g. hetero- or double- heterostructures
    • H01S5/323Structure or shape of the active region; Materials used for the active region comprising PN junctions, e.g. hetero- or double- heterostructures in AIIIBV compounds, e.g. AlGaAs-laser, InP-based laser
    • H01S5/32308Structure or shape of the active region; Materials used for the active region comprising PN junctions, e.g. hetero- or double- heterostructures in AIIIBV compounds, e.g. AlGaAs-laser, InP-based laser emitting light at a wavelength less than 900 nm
    • H01S5/32341Structure or shape of the active region; Materials used for the active region comprising PN junctions, e.g. hetero- or double- heterostructures in AIIIBV compounds, e.g. AlGaAs-laser, InP-based laser emitting light at a wavelength less than 900 nm blue laser based on GaN or GaP

Abstract

A process and system scribe sapphire substrates, by performing the steps of mounting a sapphire substrate, carrying an array of integrated device die, on a stage such as a movable X-Y stage including a vacuum chuck; and directing UV pulses of laser energy directed at a surface of the sapphire substrate using a solid-state laser. The pulses of laser energy have a wavelength below about 560 nanometers, and preferably between about 150 in 560 nanometers. In addition, energy density, spot size, and pulse duration are established at levels sufficient to induce ablation of sapphire. Control of the system, such as by moving the stage with a stationary beam path for the pulses, causes the pulses to contact the sapphire substrate in a scribe pattern at a rate of motion causing overlap of successive pulses sufficient to cut scribe lines in the sapphire substrate.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION DATA
  • [0001]
    This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/208,484 entitled Scribing Sapphire Substrates with a Solid State UV Laser filed Jul. 30, 2002, which is a non-provisional filing of Provisional Application No. 60/387,381 entitled Scribing Sapphire Substrates With a Solid State UV Laser, filed Jun. 10, 2002.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to systems and processes used in manufacturing integrated device die, such as integrated circuit and laser die, including diode laser die, formed on sapphire substrates. More particularly, the present invention provides for scribing sapphire substrates using solid state UV lasers, and separating the scribed sapphire substrate into die.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of Related Art
  • [0005]
    Sapphire Al2O3 is used as a substrate for a variety of devices. The sapphire is a hard material that is optically transmissive, electrically nonconducting and a good conductor of heat. It has become the preferred substrate material in manufacturing of laser diodes. In particular, blue laser diodes and other structures based on gallium nitride GaN and related materials are manufactured on sapphire substrates in large volume.
  • [0006]
    One bottleneck in manufacturing of die on sapphire substrates is the separation of the die from the substrate. Because sapphire is very hard, the typical process requires the use of a diamond tipped blade to scribe a pattern in the substrate. In one common method, the sapphire substrate having an array of semiconductor structures such as laser diodes formed thereon is placed on an adhesive known as “blue tape,” or “wafer tape.” A diamond blade is used to scribe the substrate. Mechanical stress is used to crack the substrate along scribe lines. The tape carrying the cracked substrate is then stretched to separate the die. A robotic pick and place machine is used to remove the individual die, having typical dimensions in a range of 200 to 500 microns on a side, from the tape.
  • [0007]
    One major bottleneck in the manufacturing of the die is the cutting process. The diamond blade requires the manufacturer to allocate a relatively wide scribe line, referred to as a “street,” (for example, 40 to 70 microns) on the substrate, reducing the number of die manufacturable on a single substrate. In addition, the diamond tip blade must be operated relatively slowly, requiring as much as 1 and a half hours for a 2 inch diameter substrate. Also, the diamond tips on the blade wear out and must be replaced often, as much as one blade per wafer. Replacement of the blades slows down the process of manufacturing. Also, the blades typically have multiple tips, which must be carefully and precisely aligned for proper cutting each time a new tip is brought on line, and each time a new blade is installed. Finally, the mechanical scribing process causes cracks, which can damage the die and reduce yields. Typical yields for this process have been reported to be about 70%.
  • [0008]
    It is desirable, therefore, to provide a system and method for scribing sapphire substrates in manufacturing die which is faster, easier to use, minimizes the number of consumable parts, allows for greater density and achieves greater yields than is available using current technologies. Further, it is desirable that such system be compact, safe to operate and low-cost.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    The present invention provides a method and system for manufacturing integrated device die, such as diode laser die, from a sapphire substrate carrying an array of such integrated devices. Particularly, the present invention is suitable for manufacturing blue laser diodes based on gallium nitride structures. According to the present invention, greater density and greater yield are achieved, while also reducing the time required to separate the individual die from the substrate. Furthermore, the present invention is based on compact, low-cost machines, and otherwise reduces the overall manufacturing costs for such integrated device die.
  • [0010]
    The present invention provides a process including mounting a sapphire substrate, carrying an array of integrated devices, on a stage such as a movable X-Y stage including a vacuum chuck. Next, pulses of laser energy are directed at a surface of the sapphire substrate using a solid-state laser. The pulses of laser energy have a wavelength below about 560 nanometers, and preferably between about 150 and 560 nanometers. In addition, energy density, spot size, and pulse duration are established at levels sufficient to induce ablation of sapphire. Control of the system, such as by moving the stage with a stationary beam path for the pulses, causes the pulses to contact the sapphire substrate in a scribe pattern at a rate of motion causing overlap of successive pulses sufficient to cut scribe lines in the sapphire substrate.
  • [0011]
    Embodiments of the present invention produce laser pulses having an energy density between about 10 and 100 joules per square centimeter, a pulse duration between about 10 and 30 nanoseconds, and a spot size between about 5 and 25 microns. The repetition rate for the pulses is greater than 5 kHz, and preferably ranges from about 10 kHz to 50 kHz or higher. The stage is moved at a rate of motion causing overlap of the pulses in the amount of 50 to 99 percent. By controlling the pulse rate, the rate of motion of the stage, and the energy density, the depth of the scribe line can be precisely controlled. In embodiments of the invention, the scribe lines are cut to a depth of about one-half the thickness, or more, of the sapphire substrate, so that for an 80 micron thick substrate, the scribe line is cut to a depth in the range of about 35 microns to, for example, 60 microns, and more preferably greater than 40 microns.
  • [0012]
    In embodiments of the present invention, the solid-state laser comprises a diode pumped, Q-switched, Nd:YVO4 laser, including harmonic frequency generators such as nonlinear crystals like LBO, so that output of the laser is provided at one of the second, third, fourth and fifth harmonic frequencies of the 1064 nanometer line produced by the neodymium doped, solid-state laser. In particular systems, the third harmonic frequency of about 355 nanometers is provided. In other embodiments, the solid-state laser comprises a Q-switched, Nd:YAG laser, operating to provide one of the harmonic frequencies as output.
  • [0013]
    In embodiments of the invention, the method includes detecting edges of the sapphire substrate while directing pulses at the substrate in the scribe pattern. In response to detected edges, the system prevents the pulses of radiation from being directed off of the substrate.
  • [0014]
    Embodiments of the present invention direct the pulses of radiation at the backside of the substrate. This prevents damage potentially caused by heat from reaching the active integrated device die structures. Furthermore, it prevents debris from the ablation process from contaminating the integrated devices on the die.
  • [0015]
    Thus, embodiments of the invention include placing the top surface of the substrate on an adhesive tape prior to scribing, mounting the substrate with the adhesive tape on the stage, moving the substrate under conditions causing ablation of the sapphire in a scribe pattern on the backside of the substrate, and detecting edges of the substrate during the scribing process to prevent the pulses of radiation from impacting the adhesive tape.
  • [0016]
    The die defined by a scribe pattern are separated from the sapphire substrate, by mechanically cracking the substrate along the scribe lines, and using a pick and place robot or other technology known in the art. In one embodiment, the sapphire substrate is placed on an adhesive tape prior to scribing, and after scribing the substrate is rolled or otherwise mechanically manipulated to break the substrate along scribe lines in the scribe pattern. The separated die remain adhered to the adhesive tape, until separated using the pick and place robot, or other technology.
  • [0017]
    Embodiments of the invention further provide for controlling polarization of the laser pulses with respect to direction of scribe lines in the scribe pattern. The polarization is controlled so that the grooves are more uniform for scribe lines parallel to different axes. Uniformity can be improved by random or circular polarization of the pulses in some embodiments. More preferably, polarization of the pulse is controlled so that the polarization is linear and parallel to the scribe line being cut. It is found that the quality of the groove being formed is more V-shaped with parallel polarization, and more U-shaped with polarization that is not aligned. V-shaped grooves are preferred for more uniform and predictable breaking of the substrate during separation of the die. Embodiments of the invention provide for control of the polarization using a laser with an adjustable polarizer, such as a half wave plate, in the optical path.
  • [0018]
    The invention also provides a system for scribing sapphire which comprises a solid-state laser, as described above, a stage adapted to support and move a sapphire substrate, optics directing pulses to impact of sapphire substrate mounted on the stage, an edge detection system which detects edges of substrate mounted on the stage during movement of the stage, and a control system. The control system in embodiments of the invention comprises a computer system coupled to the solid-state laser, the stage, and the edge detection system. The computer is responsive to the edge detection system and parameters set by users to cause the pulses to impact of the sapphire substrate in a scribe pattern at a rate of motion causing overlap of successive pulses sufficient to cut scribe lines in the sapphire substrate. Embodiments of the invention also include a debris exhaust system coupled with the stage.
  • [0019]
    Embodiments of the invention include a user interface with logic to set up the scribe pattern, and the operational parameters including pulse repetition rate, stage velocity and energy levels to establish scribe depth, scribe speed and other characteristics of the process.
  • [0020]
    Other aspects and advantages of the present invention can be seen on review of the drawings, the detailed description and the claims, which follow.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram of a sapphire scribing system according to the present invention.
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a compact, portable sapphire scribing system according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 3 is a simplified block diagram including the laser system and optics for the sapphire scribing system of the present invention.
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 4 is a simplified diagram of components of the edge detection system according to the present invention.
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 5 illustrates the overlapping of successive pulses during the cutting of a scribe line.
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the stage and debris exhaust system of the sapphire scribing system according to the present invention.
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 7 illustrates a scribe pattern on a sapphire substrate including an array of integrated laser diodes for cutting into die according to the present invention.
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 8A-8C show a relationship between polarization of laser pulses and scribe line scribing direction for uniform V-shaped grooves.
  • [0029]
    FIGS. 9-16 are photographs showing experimental results of the scribing process of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0030]
    A detailed description of embodiments of the present invention is provided with reference to FIGS. 1 through 8A-8C, and experimental results are shown in FIGS. 9-16.
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 1 is a simplified block diagram of a sapphire scribing system according to the present invention. In the embodiment shown, a diode pumped, solid-state laser 10 generates high-density UV and close-to-UV pulses at a repetition rate in the kHz range. In preferred systems, the laser comprises a Q-switched Nd:YVO4 medium delivering third harmonic output as the stream of laser pulses at a repetition rate greater than 10 kHz, with a pulse duration of about 40 nanoseconds. The pulses are provided using an optical delivery system 11 and turning mirror 12 to an ultraviolet objective lens 13, which focuses the pulses on a sapphire substrate 14. The substrate 14 is supported on a vacuum chuck and X/Ystage 15. Preferably, the wafer is supported face down on an adhesive wafer tape. A gas debris removing system 16 cooperates with a gas exhaust system and vacuum 17 to remove debris generated by the ablation of the sapphire substrate.
  • [0032]
    A visible light source 18 and a turning mirror 19 deliver white light through the objective lens 13 to the sapphire substrate 14. The edge detection electronics 20 is responsive to light reflected via the objective lens 13 and turning mirror 21 to detect edges of the substrate and prevent pulses of UV radiation from being directed off of the substrate onto the backing wafer tape or elsewhere. A camera 22 such as a charge coupled device camera is focused on the wafer 14 and used to generate an image for information processing and monitoring. Computer 23 is coupled to the controllable components of the system, and causes the delivery of the pulses, movement of the stage 15 and controls other characteristics of the system to scribe the substrate in a scribe pattern.
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a sapphire substrate scribing system in one embodiment of the invention. The diode pumped solid-state laser is compact and low-cost so that it is efficiently mounted on a cart as illustrated. The computer and other system electronics are contained on the cart. The computer keyboard 50 is mounted on a keyboard tray, which slides in and out of the cart. A flat-panel display 51 is mounted on a swivel base, so that it may be folded in during movement and storage of the cart. The system includes a microscope 52, which enables viewing of the wafer during the cutting process. Images generated by the camera 22, and graphical user interface tools and other display constructs are presented to the user using the display 51.
  • [0034]
    Generally, embodiments of the present invention are provided as a semi-automatic turnkey system using a tabletop laser system and computer mounted on a cart. The system provides for manual loading and unloading of wafers. However, the invention contemplates automated wafer loading and unloading systems as well. Representative systems are adapted to receive two inch sapphire wafers with die sizes, for example in the range of 250 microns by 250 microns. Smaller and larger die sizes are readily handled. The wafer thickness ranges from about 80 to 200 microns, for typical laser diode die, and is mounted face down on a 6.5 inch wafer metal frame using adhesive wafer tape. The wafer metal frame is manually placed on the stage and secured using a vacuum chuck. Manual alignment of the wafer is possible using manual stage controls. Software controlled scribe patterns are implemented with computer control of the wafer stage, and controllable speed in the X- and Y- directions. The system includes a class one laser system which generate spot sizes less than 20 microns in operational conditions. A groove is cut, preferably about 40 microns deep, and more preferably greater than about ½ thickness of the sapphire substrate. Nitrogen gas is used by the debris removing jet, and evacuated using an exhaust pump. Throughput of the representative system is about ½ hour per wafer, or greater. No damage is caused to the wafer tape because of the edge detection process, supporting greater yield in the die separation process.
  • [0035]
    The X/Y stage in one preferred system has a maximum speed of 100 mm per second, and a travel range of greater than 100 mm by 75 mm. The resolution of the stage alignment process is about one micron. The accuracy over four inches of travel range is less than 4 microns. Repeatability of scribe lines provides for deviation of less than three microns. The flatness of the stage is less than 1.5 microns deviation per inch. No rotation is required in some embodiments. The vacuum chuck is at least 2.5 inches in diameter, on a six inch platform, for holding a two inch wafer during alignment and scribing.
  • [0036]
    The laser system in a preferred embodiment is a Q-switched, diode pumped, third harmonic Nd:YVO4 providing an output at 355 nanometers wavelength. The laser provides one watt output power at 20 kHz, and higher, electro-optically Q-switched output using first pulse suppression. The pulses have a TEM00 intensity profile with 10 to 15 micron, or smaller, diameter at 1/e2 peak magnitude spot size on the target surface. The laser pulse duration is about 40 nanoseconds, or less and more preferably between about 30 and 10 nanoseconds, for example about 16 nanoseconds. It is linearly polarized with external rotation control of a half wave plate up to 45 degrees for alignment with the crystalline structure of the sapphire for good and uniform coupling of energy into the sapphire.
  • [0037]
    The basic structure of the laser system is like the commercially available Acculase SS10 Laser System, by New Wave Research, of Fremont, Calif., which is the assignee of the present invention.
  • [0038]
    The computer system allows for automated control of the laser and stage movement for defined cutting patterns, which can be set up using the computer. A wafer map and cutting definition function allows setup of the scribe pattern including rotation control of the stage. Video overlay shows live video of the sample within a software-controlled window to facilitate set up and monitoring of the process. Control for the cutting parameters including laser energy, repetition rate and stage speed are provided via the user interface, giving the operator precise control over the depth and quality of the scribing process. A pattern alignment function allows the cutting pattern to be moved in the X-, Y- and orthogonal directions to match the actual wafer location during setup.
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 3 is a basic layout of optical path for one embodiment of the scribing system according to the present invention. The optical path includes a laser 50, optics delivering the output of the laser to a substrate 74 on the vacuum chuck 75 mounted on an X-stage 76 and Y-stage 77. The laser includes a resonant cavity defined by high reflector 51 and output coupler 59. A beam expander 52, laser medium rod 53, cylindrical lens 54, diode array 55, thin film polarizer 56, thin film polarizer 57, and electro-optic Q-switch 58 are included. The diode array is operated to pump the rod 53 to induce resonance at the 1064 nm line for Nd:YVO4. The output beam is directed to turning mirror 60 and turning mirror 61 through spherical focal lens 62 through nonlinear crystal 63. The nonlinear crystal 63 produces a second harmonic and passes the second harmonic along with the primary line through spherical focal lens 64 to a second nonlinear crystal 65. The second nonlinear crystal produces a third harmonic output, among others, which is delivered to turning mirror/filter 66 and turning mirror/filter 67 and half lambda wave plate 68. The wave plate 68 is motorized and acts as a controllable polarizer for the output beam. The wave plate 68 is used to align the polarization of the output beam with respect to the scribing direction to make a grooves cut by the laser pulses uniform in the X- and Y-directions. The third harmonic output, at a wavelength of about 355 nanometers, is delivered to optics including turning mirror 69, beam expander 70, turning mirror 71, turning mirror 72 and objective 73 to the sapphire substrate 74. The objective lens 73 is a 20X lens in this embodiment.
  • [0040]
    The nonlinear crystal 63 used for second harmonic generation can be made of a variety of materials, preferably LBO, BBO or KTP. Likewise, the nonlinear crystal 65 used for third or higher harmonic generation can be made of a plurality of materials, preferably LBO or BBO. In one preferred system, LBO is utilized for both nonlinear crystals 63 and 65.
  • [0041]
    Rod 53 in one preferred system is a Nd: YVO4 solid-state laser medium. This material allows for shorter pulse durations and higher Q-switch repetition rates than other suitable materials, such as Nd:YAG or Nd:YLF. However, other solid-state laser media, including without limitation, Nd:YAG, Nd:YLF, and other media suitable for generation of ultraviolet and close-to-ultraviolet pulses at high repetition rates, are utilized in some embodiments. Preferred output wavelengths for the solid-state Nd-based media includes the second, third, fourth and fifth harmonics of the infrared 1064 nm line, within a range of about 560 nanometers to about 150 nm. Higher wavelengths into the visible range may not be as efficient for ablation of sapphire, while wavelengths below 150 nm require an evacuated optical path for efficient operation.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 4 illustrates the edge detection system used in preferred embodiments of the present invention. The system includes a white light source 81 which provides light through turning mirror 82 and objective lens 84 to the sapphire substrate 85 on wafer tape 86, or other mounting media. Reflected light passes through objective lens 84, turning mirror 83, turning mirror 82 and is deflected by turning mirror 87 through a spherical focal lens 88 to a photodetector 89. The photodetector 89 is coupled with the computer system, and its output indicates edge detection. The edge of the wafer is detected based on the significant difference of light contrast between the wafer surface 85 and the wafer tape 86 or other low reflectivity materials on which the wafer is mounted. The computer system stops the motion of the stage upon receipt of the edge detection signal, preventing laser pulses from being directed off the side of the stage.
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 5 illustrates the overlapping of laser spots according to the present invention. At high repetition rates, as the stage moves the wafer, pulses emitted by the laser system overlap. Thus, a first pulse 90 is overlapped by a second pulse 91 which in turn is overlapped by second pulse 92 and so on. The amount of overlap determines in part the depth of the scribe lines. For a repetition rate about 10 kHz and stage speeds are between 2.5 mm/sec and 5.0 mm/sec, the overlap can easily be controlled in a range of about 50 to 99 percent. The overlap can be obtained by the following example calculation:
  • Laser spot size˜10 micron, diameter
  • Stage speed˜2.5 mm/sec
  • [0044]
    Then there is a (10 micron/(2.5 mm/sec)=4.0×10−3 sec overlap on a single spot 10 microns in diameter. The number of pulses that overlap the spot (shot density) is then (10000 pulses per see)×(4×10−3 sec)=40. A shot density of 40 is equal to an overlap of 97.25%.
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIG. 6 provides a perspective of the stage 100, objective lens 101 and debris removal jet 102 in one embodiment of the invention. The stage 100 includes a vacuum chuck 103 centered on a movable plate 104. A movable plate 104 includes manual adjustment knob 105 for the Y-direction and a similar adjustment knob (not shown) for the X-direction. Also, the movement of the stage is automatically controllable. The jet 102 is arranged to deliver air or nitrogen gas into the region of the ablation in order to remove debris. A vacuum (not shown) withdraws the gas with the debris from the region of the wafer.
  • [0046]
    In a representative system, the repetition rate is controllable within a range of 20 to 50 kHz, with a stage speed ranging up to 8 to 10 mm per second. Other combinations of repetition rate and stage speed will be developed according to the needs of a particular implementation.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 7 shows a magnified view of an active surface of a sapphire substrate having an array of laser diodes formed thereon. Spaces, or streets, about 80 microns wide are left between the individual laser diodes to allow room for scribing. However, the white dots should not be cut so the effective street width is less. In FIG. 7, grooves (dark lines within the streets) are machined having a width of 10-15 microns, on the top surface for perspective of the relative widths. In a preferred system, the backside of the wafer is scribed. In a typical system according to the prior art, the streets must be wide enough to accommodate diamond tipped blades. In these prior art systems, such streets have been between at least 40 wide. With the system of the present invention with a spot size in the range of 10 microns, and the precision available, the streets can be reduced to 20 or 30 microns in width or less. This significantly increases the density of devices that can be made on a single substrate and improves throughput in manufacturing process for the die.
  • [0048]
    As described above, a representative system is based on a Nd:YVO4 or Nd:YAG laser medium operated at its third harmonic wavelength of 355 nanometers. Theoretically there is very little absorption at this wavelength in a sapphire crystal. However, under a very high intensity flux of laser light, greater than a Giga Watt per cm squared, for example, it is believed that non-linear absorption occurs causing the coupling of the laser energy into the sapphire material. This coupling with sufficient energy density causes ablation of sapphire. In addition, the laser pulses are highly overlapped during processing as described. The advantages of overlapping the laser pulses during micro-machining include not only improving the smoothness of the machined groove, but also enhancing the laser coupling efficiency into the sapphire material.
  • [0049]
    FIGS. 8A-8C illustrate control of linear polarization of the laser pulses with respect to the scribing direction on the sapphire substrate. The half wave plate 68 described above with respect to FIG. 3 is used to control polarization of the pulses in order to optimize the coupling of laser energy to the sapphire, and the uniformity of the grooves in the X- and Y-directions.
  • [0050]
    [0050]FIG. 8A illustrates an UV laser 200 which generates a linearly polarized output beam on line 201 aligned vertically, for example in the plane of the paper, as indicated by arrow 202. The polarization may be established intra-cavity as shown in FIG. 3. Alternative systems may include a polarizer outside the cavity. The pulses proceed to half wave plate 203, which is aligned vertically in a Y-direction, parallel with the polarization 202. After half wave plate 203, the pulses remain aligned vertically as indicated by arrow 204. The pulses proceed through focus lens 205 maintaining vertical polarization as indicated by arrow 206. The polarization is aligned with the machining direction of a scribe line 207 parallel with a Y-axis.
  • [0051]
    [0051]FIG. 8B illustrates the layout of FIG. 8A, with like components having the same reference numbers. In FIG. 8B, half wave plate 203 is rotated 45 degrees relative to the position of FIG. 8A. The rotation of the half wave plate 203 causes the polarization of the pulses to rotate 90 degrees as indicated by arrow 208, extending for this example into the paper. The pulses proceed through focus lens 205 maintaining their polarization as indicated by arrow 210. The polarization 210 is aligned with the machining direction of a scribe line 211 parallel with a X-axis.
  • [0052]
    [0052]FIG. 8C illustrates laser polarization direction relative to the cutting or machining direction of the scribe line. Thus, a scribe line 215 consists of the sequence of overlapping pulses aligned in a cutting direction 216. The laser polarization direction 217 in the preferred system is parallel with the cutting direction 216. The alignment of polarization parallel with the cutting direction is found to produce uniform V-shaped grooves. The V-shaped grooves allow for more uniform separation of the die than can be achieved with grooves that are more U-shaped, or that are less uniform.
  • [0053]
    Two important requirements for the sapphire scribing system are the throughput and the cutting depth of the wafer. The cutting depth of sapphire is dependent on the overlap and the energy density. It is required, typically, to cut at least half way through the wafer. In one available Nd:YAG laser embodiment, a 10 kHz repetition rate and maximum energy density 40 j/cm2 are achieved, and used for scribing according to the present invention. FIGS. 9-16 are photographs of experimental results of the scribing process using this Nd:YAG embodiment, showing the depth and V-shape of the grooves that can be achieved in representative systems. The figures show cross-sections of sample sapphire wafers having thicknesses of about 80 microns, with laser cut grooves more than half the thickness of the wafer. In these examples, an energy density is controlled in a range of about 22.5 to 40.0 j/cm2, and a stage speed in a range of about 2.5 to 5.0 mm/sec.
  • [0054]
    The energy density and stage speed for FIGS. 8 to 15 are as follows:
    Fig. 9: 22.5 j/cm2/2.5 mm/sec
    Fig. 10: 30.0 j/cm2/2.5 mm/sec
    Fig. 11: 40.0 j/cm2/2.5 mm/sec
    Fig. 12: 40.0 j/cm2/3.0 mm/sec
    Fig. 13: 40.0 j/cm2/3.5 mm/sec
    Fig. 14: 40.0 j/cm2/4.0 mm/sec
    Fig. 15: 40.0 j/cm2/4.5 mm/sec
    Fig. 16: 40.0 j/cm2/5.0 mm/sec
  • [0055]
    It can be seen from the FIGS. 9 to 16 that the cutting depth is larger than half wafer thickness for the stage speed between 2.5 mm/sec and 5 mm/sec. A sapphire scribing system using a Nd:YVO4 medium operates readily at 20 to 50 kHz, and a maximum energy density can be 45˜50 j/cm2. To keep the same cutting depth and increase the throughput, the stage speed can be increased to 8˜10 mm/sec, for this system.
  • [0056]
    In one embodiment, computer software is provided to engineers and operators for managing scribing operations as a step in manufacturing of laser diode die. The software operates at two levels in this example, designated an engineering interface and an operator interface. At the engineering interface level, the engineer has the ability to control the following:
  • [0057]
    Fire the laser
  • [0058]
    Change the rep rate
  • [0059]
    Change power (from 0 to 100%)
  • [0060]
    Adjust the coax light
  • [0061]
    Continuous, burst or single shot firing
  • [0062]
    Create reference point (two point for XY, and three points for XYZ)
  • [0063]
    Ability to re-coordinate: Save, recreate and move a map on a different wafer to coincide with previously determined reference points.
  • [0064]
    Create wafer map: which controls the following
  • [0065]
    Manipulate wafer map by changing horizontal and vertical spacing
  • [0066]
    Size of the wafer scribe pattern
  • [0067]
    Explode scribe pattern to individual lines: Take a wafer and make it into several individual lines
  • [0068]
    Translate or rotate patterns
  • [0069]
    Laser setting: which controls the following:
  • [0070]
    Speed of the stage
  • [0071]
    Rep rate
  • [0072]
    Polarization
  • [0073]
    Laser power (0-100%)
  • [0074]
    Number of passes
  • [0075]
    Depth of passes
  • [0076]
    Explode lines: which controls the following
  • [0077]
    Move each line individually
  • [0078]
    Change all setting individually
  • [0079]
    Translate or rotate lines individually
  • [0080]
    Ability to save and recall
  • [0081]
    Stop and begin at the beginning of any line
  • [0082]
    Ability to turn ON and OFF the vacuum and nitrogen air
  • [0083]
    Calibrate the edge detection
  • [0084]
    With the operator interface, the user will control the following:
  • [0085]
    Vacuum control (Load the wafer mechanism)
  • [0086]
    Place a new map from the tools library
  • [0087]
    Ability to rotate the map
  • [0088]
    Run the system
  • [0089]
    Abort if needed
  • [0090]
    The present invention provides a process for manufacturing laser diode die, and other integrated device die, formed on sapphire substrates. Procedures according to embodiments of the invention include the following:
  • [0091]
    1) laying out and forming laser diodes in an array on an active surface of a sapphire substrate, with individual laser diodes separated by streets having a width less than 40 microns, and preferably around 25 microns or less;
  • [0092]
    2) placing the sapphire wafer with the active surface facing down on wafer tape on a metal frame;
  • [0093]
    2) placing the taped wafer with a metal frame on the vacuum chuck of the wafer stage, and turning on the vacuum to secure the wafer and tape to the stage;
  • [0094]
    3) moving the wafer to a home position by controlling the stage
  • [0095]
    4) automatically, or semi-automatically, aligning the wafer position to coordinates established by the computer setup;
  • [0096]
    5) setting up a scribe pattern based on wafer and die size and layout parameters;
  • [0097]
    6) automatically, or semi-automatically, setting up the lighting levels for edge detection;
  • [0098]
    7) setting up stage speed, laser polarization and laser power for the required cutting depth;
  • [0099]
    8) turning on the debris removing system;
  • [0100]
    9) starting the process of laser scribing based on the scribing pattern on one line parallel to one axis;
  • [0101]
    10) continuing the process on other lines and axes, while controlling polarization, until the wafer is finished;
  • [0102]
    11) causing the stage to return to an exit position, turn off the vacuum, and removing the wafer from the chuck;
  • [0103]
    12) cleaning wafer with high-speed air or other gas jet to remove laser machining induced debris;
  • [0104]
    13) applying mechanical pressure to break the wafer along the scribe lines; and
  • [0105]
    14) stretch the wafer tape for separation and transport using a pick and place system to other mounting apparatus.
  • [0106]
    The procedures outlined above are carried out using the systems described above, or similar systems.
  • [0107]
    Accordingly, the present invention provides a significantly improved scribing process and system for use with sapphire substrates. The process and system are low-cost, high yield, and high throughput compared to prior art sapphire scribing technologies.
  • [0108]
    While the present invention is disclosed by reference to the preferred embodiments and examples detailed above, it is to be understood that these examples are intended in an illustrative rather than in a limiting sense. It is contemplated that modifications and combinations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, which modifications and combinations will be within the spirit of the invention and the scope of the following claims.

Claims (36)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A system for scribing a sapphire substrate, comprising:
    a laser generating pulses of laser energy in a wavelength less than about 560 nanometers, with a pulse duration less than about 30 nanoseconds at a repetition rate of greater than 5 kHz;
    a stage adapted to support, and move, a sapphire substrate;
    optics directing the pulses to impact a sapphire substrate mounted on the stage; and
    a control system coupled to the solid state laser and the stage, the control system controlling the laser and stage, and causing the pulses to impact the sapphire substrate in a scribe pattern at a rate of motion causing overlap of successive pulses sufficient to cut scribe lines in the sapphire substrate.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein the control system controls a rate of motion of the stage, causing overlap of successive pulses.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1, including an edge detection system which detects edges of a substrate mounting on the stage during movement of the stage;
  4. 4. The system of claim 1, including a debris exhaust system.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1, wherein the control system includes logic to set up a scribe pattern.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1, wherein the stage includes a vacuum chuck.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1, including a video system for viewing a substrate mounted on the stage.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, wherein the control system includes logic to set up parameters including pulse repetition rate, pulse energy and stage speed.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1, wherein the laser comprises a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.
  10. 10. The system of claim 1, wherein the laser comprises a Q-switched Nd:YVO4 laser.
  11. 11. The system of claim 1, wherein the laser comprises a diode pumped, Q-switched Nd:YVO4 laser operating at a third harmonic wavelength of about 355 nanometers.
  12. 12. The system of claim 1, wherein the laser comprises a diode pumped, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at a third harmonic wavelength of about 355 nanometers.
  13. 13. The system of claim 1, wherein the spot size is between 5 and 15 microns.
  14. 14. The system of claim 1, wherein the control system controls a rate of motion of the stage, causing overlap of successive pulses, wherein the overlap is in a range from 50 to 99 percent.
  15. 15. The system of claim 1, wherein the pulse rate is between about 10 kHz and 50 kHz.
  16. 16. The system of claim 1, wherein said energy density is between about 10 and 100 joules per square centimeter, said pulse duration is between about 10 and 30 nanoseconds, and the spot size is between about 5 and 25 microns.
  17. 17. The system of claim 1, wherein the sapphire substrate has a thickness, and the scribe lines are cut to a depth of more than about one half said thickness.
  18. 18. The system of claim 1, including optics to linearly polarize the pulses.
  19. 19. The system of claim 1, including optics to adjust polarization of the pulses.
  20. 20. A system for scribing a sapphire substrate, comprising:
    a Q-switched, solid state laser generating pulses of laser energy in a wavelength between about 150 and 560 nanometers, pulse duration less than about 30 nanoseconds and a spot size of less than 25 microns, at a repetition rate of greater than 10 kHz;
    a stage adapted to support, and move, a sapphire substrate;
    optics directing the pulses to impact a sapphire substrate mounted on the stage;
    an edge detection system which detects edges of a substrate mounting on the stage during movement of the stage; and
    a control system coupled to the solid state laser, the stage and the edge detection system, the control system controlling the laser and stage, and responsive to the edge detection system, and causing the pulses to impact the sapphire substrate in a scribe pattern at a rate of motion causing overlap of successive pulses sufficient to cut scribe lines in the sapphire substrate.
  21. 21. The system of claim 20, including a debris exhaust system.
  22. 22. The system of claim 20, wherein the control system includes logic to set up a scribe pattern.
  23. 23. The system of claim 20, wherein the stage includes a vacuum chuck.
  24. 24. The system of claim 20, including a video system for viewing a substrate mounted on the stage.
  25. 25. The system of claim 20, wherein the control system includes logic to set up parameters including pulse repetition rate, pulse energy and stage speed.
  26. 26. The system of claim 20, wherein the laser comprises a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser.
  27. 27. The system of claim 20, wherein the laser comprises a Q-switched Nd:YVO4 laser.
  28. 28. The system of claim 20, wherein the laser comprises a diode pumped, Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at a third harmonic wavelength of about 355 nanometers.
  29. 29. The system of claim 20, wherein the laser comprises a diode pumped, Q-switched Nd:YVO4 laser operating at a third harmonic wavelength of about 355 nanometers.
  30. 30. The system of claim 20, wherein the spot size is between 5 and 15 microns.
  31. 31. The system of claim 20, wherein the overlap is in a range from 50 to 99 percent.
  32. 32. The system of claim 20, wherein the pulse rate is between about 20 kHz and 50 kHz.
  33. 33. The system of claim 20, wherein said energy density is between about 10 and 100 joules per square centimeter, said pulse duration is between about 10 and 30 nanoseconds, and the spot size is between about 5 and 25 microns.
  34. 34. The system of claim 20, wherein the sapphire substrate has a thickness, and the scribe lines are cut to a depth of more than about one half said thickness.
  35. 35. The system of claim 20, including optics to linearly polarize the pulses.
  36. 36. The system of claim 20, including optics to adjust polarization of the pulses.
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