Wafer thinning service offered
Thin wafers are as thin as paper; they can be used for smart cards and RFID.
MARIN, Switzerland - March 11, 2003 - EM Microelectronic, a company of the Swatch Group, announces that it is now offering a special wafer thinning service that produces wafers that are thin enough to be embedded in clothing and paper. The wafer thinning service uses a combination of wafer mechanical backgrinding and a state-of-the-art polishing stress release to experimentally produce 6-inch wafers with thicknesses down to 50 um (about two mils), which is one-half the typical thickness of paper (100 um). In production volumes, EM Microelectronic can produce wafers with thickness of 100-150 um on 6" wafers, and 150 um on 8" wafers.
Applications of the thin wafers include smart cards, security paper, anti-counterfeit measures in the clothing industry, implantable medical electronics and hearing aids, and stacked ICs and memory for mobile telephones, Internet routers and switches, cellular base stations and PDAs. The thin wafers can reduce component count on printed circuit boards, save space, improve thermal and mechanical performance, reduce packaging costs, and improve reliability. The service is available for wafers that are produced by EM Microelectronic, or supplied to EM Microelectronic from another manufacturer.
"Specially-thinned wafers make it possible to embed circuits where never possible before, such as inside a manufacturer's clothing label, inside a book cover, or inside an injection-molded case. The applications are wide-ranging and exciting", explains Mougahed Darwish, president of the management board of EM Microelectronic. The wafers become as flexible as metal foil as a result of the thinning process.
The technology is especially well-suited for smart card, RFID and other security/tracking applications. EM Microelectronic is a world leader in these technologies, and its product line includes microcontrollers, mixed signal gate arrays and ASICs, supervisory ICs, LCD drivers and displays, RFID and smart card circuits, sensors and optoelectronics. EM Microelectronic is a pioneer in low-voltage, low power electronics that are ideal for battery-powered, portable applications and high-density handheld consumer products. EM Microelectronics is also a leader in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and other advanced technologies.
EM Microelectronic produces the thinned wafers on the most advanced wafer thinning machine in the world. A stress release process is included to remove stress that is inherent in the silicon from its time of manufacture, as well as to reduce the effects of micro-cracks resulting from backgrinding. This stress release process uses delicate polishing techniques including a mixture of special slurry and chemical products. Using this technique, wafers could be thinned down to 30-40 um using dedicated special optional handling and still maintain specified electrical characteristics.
For more information, open this file (PDF, 200kB) or contact EM.