Precision is essential for manufacturing high-quality components in the optoelectronics and photonics industry. Cut quality is the most important component in selecting which type of technology to use for dicing. Two popular methods used in the industry are stealth dicing using laser technology and diamond dicing. Stealth dicing is at the forefront of innovation, using a completely waterless process to create precise singulation of die from transparent substrates such as glass, sapphire, and quartz.

Both techniques have advantages but differ significantly in their machinery, process, and applications. If you’re weighing the option of stealth dicing vs. diamond dicing process, read on to find out the differences!

Stealth Dicing Creates Precise Cuts Through Laser Irradiation

Stealth dicing is an innovative technique developed to overcome the limits of conventional dicing methods. This dicing style focuses the laser on the inside of the wafer rather than on the wafer’s surface. This eliminates the need for blades. And unlike conventional methods, it does not use water to cool the blade and clear debris. 

Machinery and Process: Contactless Cutting

The machinery used for stealth dicing includes a laser dicing system equipped with an ultraviolet (UV) laser. The process begins with applying a picosecond laser, which creates a modified layer within the substrate. Then, the substrate is subjected to a high-energy pulse laser that generates a stress wave, causing the wafer to separate along the modified layer. 

Applications: Compatible for Brittle Materials

Stealth dicing is advantageous for cutting brittle transparent materials such as glass and quartz. This technique is widely used in optoelectronics, photonics, and optical sensors. Additionally, stealth dicing enhances the yield of small, complex devices and allows for no kerf dicing, producing more components from a single wafer.

Diamond Dicing Creates Mechanical Cuts With a Diamond Blade

This is a conventional technique for cutting various materials, including silicon, glass, ceramics, and sapphire. This process is more mechanical, relying on a diamond blade to make cuts with contact and utilizing a water-based process to cool the diamond-coated blade. While it has been widely used for many years, it has certain limitations compared to stealth dicing.

Machinery and Process: Contact Cutting That Generates Debris

During the process, the diamond blade comes into direct contact with the wafer, cutting it into individual chips. The dicing process is typically followed by a cleaning step to remove residual debris from the cut surface. 

Applications: Best For Cutting Rigid Materials

This is the most suitable process for cutting silicon wafers, ceramics, and other rigid materials. But it can pose challenges when working with delicate or brittle materials, increasing the risk of chipping and damaging the components. For non-transparent materials, diamond dicing is the default method. But for thinner wafers and increased chip yield with efficient use of transparent materials, stealth dicing is recommended.

Stealth Dicing vs. Diamond Dicing Services at Photo Solutions

Photo Solutions is one of the longest-standing suppliers of specialty components in the optoelectronics industry. As we scale up our specialty and in-demand services, stealth dicing will become an additional offering. Contact our team for more information on our existing and future offerings!