Synova and Disco Hi-Tec Europe co-develop hybrid dicing tool

Date Announced: 14 Jun 2007

-- Fusion of DISCO's Blade Saw With Synova's Water Jet-Guided Laser Technology to Yield Revolutionary Hybrid Dicing Solution

LAUSANNE, Switzerland and MUNICH, Germany -- In a move that will greatly broaden global access to its innovative water jet-guided laser technology, Synova today revealed it has entered into a partnership with Munich-based DISCO HI-TEC EUROPE GmbH -- a subsidiary of DISCO Corporation, the leading provider of semiconductor wafer dicing, grinding and polishing machines.

Under terms of the alliance, the two companies will work jointly to combine Synova's patented Laser MicroJet(R) technology with DISCO's latest-generation blade-saw dicing systems to develop a hybrid dicing tool for advanced dicing applications.

The resulting best-of-breed solution will enable semiconductor manufacturers to meet their dual need for higher throughput and minimal damage on silicon wafers, as well as on the emerging genre of advanced material wafers of any thickness. Company officials report that the first tools are slated for introduction in late 2007.

"This partnership represents an important milestone for Synova -- and for the packaging industry at large," said Synova's chief executive officer, Dr. Bernold Richerzhagen. "Laser MicroJet brings performance advantages never seen before by traditional dicing technology. Now, driven by market demand, we've been afforded the opportunity to partner with the leader in this space to develop a new breed of dicing systems that incorporate the utmost capabilities of both companies' industry-proven technologies. DISCO's market expertise and extensive worldwide support and distribution infrastructure perfectly complement our leadership in laser technologies, processes and applications. We look forward to working together to speed the commercialization of a best-of-breed dicing system for the 21st century."

Karl Heinz Priewasser, Executive Vice President of DISCO HI-TEC EUROPE, stated, "Synova's water jet-guided approach offers a number of valuable benefits for a variety of processes. We believe that the fusion of Synova's technology with our leading-edge products will result in a solution that truly allows our customers to take full advantage of the best both companies have to offer."

Limited strictly to joint-development work with DISCO's blade saw, the agreement will enable both companies to pursue collaborative R&D efforts to hasten successful integration of Synova's core technology into DISCO's industry-leading systems, ensuring customers' most pressing needs are met. Both companies will contribute to the manufacturing of the resulting hybrid tool, and will share marketing and sales efforts. This partnership enables the two companies to leverage each other's unique business and technology strengths, while leaving each to freely continue to market and directly sell its independent dicing systems and pursue individual technology development.

The insatiable demand for smaller, more feature-packed consumer products has posed new challenges to IC manufacturers, who now must squeeze more functionality into ever-smaller packages. One of the major challenges facing the packaging industry in this regard is that chipmakers have introduced new wafer materials with more complex layers, making them brittle and damage-prone when undergoing traditional dicing technology. This partnership aims to join DISCO's blade saw and Synova's Laser MicroJet technology, giving manufacturers a dicing solution for both current and next-generation ICs that cost effectively meets their stringent yield and throughput requirements.

In addition to semiconductor packaging, Synova's versatile Laser MicroJet technology spans other segments within the IC industry, as well as other core markets, including flat-panel displays, solar cells, medical instrumentation and automotive devices-applications for which the company will continue to develop and sell its own leading-edge laser systems. Moreover, Synova's recent move to license its Laser MicroJet technology is expected to spur proliferation and adoption of its technology into other industries and applications. The company is currently in negotiation with a number of chief technology movers, including leading-edge companies, research institutes and universities, whose established presence and knowledge will deliver further value-add for end-use customers.

Laser MicroJet Background

Synova's Laser MicroJet is a revolutionary cutting process combining a laser beam and a water jet, where a hair-thin water jet guides the laser beam onto the wafer. Utilizing the difference in the refractive indices of air and water, the technology behind Laser MicroJet creates a laser beam that is completely reflected at the air-water interface, similar in principle to an optical fiber. This lack of deviation is maintained through and beyond the work piece, facilitating the accurate cutting of porous or layered materials. Also, contrary to standard dicing methods, the Laser MicroJet uses the water jet to cool the material surface for optimal protection against thermal damage. At the same time, water is used as a natural layer of protection to prevent deposition or contamination. Both of these surface protection features offer significant improvements to standard cutting processes that boost device yields.

About DISCO

DISCO Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is primarily engaged in the manufacture, sale and maintenance of precision cutting, grinding and polishing machines; the provision of training and after-sales services; the disassembly and recycling of precision cutting, grinding and polishing machines; and the manufacture and sale of precision diamond abrasive tools. The Company's main products include dicing and cutting saws, laser saws, grinders and polishers, dicing blades, grinding wheels, dry polishing wheels, accessory equipment and frames and cassettes for fixing and transporting workpieces. DISCO Corporation has business offices in Sendai, Tokyo, Suwa, Nagoya, Osaka and Kumamoto, and factories in Hiroshima. The Company also has operations in the United States, Asia and Europe. DISCO Corporation has 15 subsidiaries and five associated companies. More information is available at http://www.disco.co.jp

About Synova

Founded in 1997, Synova is the world pioneer and patent holder of Laser MicroJet(R), a state-of-the-art water jet-guided laser technology that combines the advantages of a laser beam and water to address the exacting manufacturing specifications and low cost-of-ownership (CoO) requirements associated with volume production of semiconductors, flat-panel displays, solar cells, medical instrumentation and automotive devices. Thanks to this innovative technology, Synova is revolutionizing the engineering playing field and fast emerging as the ideal provider for high-precision laser applications in these core markets. Additionally, Synova is satisfying growing demand across diverse markets through strategic licensing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), end users and R&D institutes. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Synova is a privately held company with subsidiaries located in Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and the United States. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at http://www.synova.ch.

Contact
Arnaud Brule of Synova SA, +41-21-694-3500 Martin Plankensteiner of DISCO HI-TEC EUROPE GmbH +49-89-90903-202 mpl@discoeurope.com

E-mail:brule@synova.ch

Web Site:www.synova.ch

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