In a recent development within the semiconductor industry, South Korean giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are said to be in the midst of a technological breakthrough. They are working alongside partners to revolutionize the wafer debonding process for high bandwidth memory (HBM) by shifting from mechanical to laser-based techniques.

Traditionally, wafer debonding has been performed using a component known as a blade, a process referred to as mechanical debonding. This involves the main semiconductor wafer and carrier wafer being bonded with adhesive and then separated by the blade. However, with the increasing number of layers in HBM, such as 12 and 16 layers, the wafers have become thinner than 30 micrometers. The risk of damage during separation using a blade has consequently increased.

Moreover, as the number of processes for etching, polishing, and wiring circuits continues to grow, the demand for new adhesives that can withstand extremely high temperatures has become more pressing. This is one of the reasons Samsung and SK Hynix are exploring the use of laser technology as an alternative to the existing mechanical methods.

To cope with the extreme processing conditions, stronger adhesives are required, which cannot be removed using mechanical methods. The industry is thus experimenting with the introduction of laser technology to attempt a stable separation of the main wafer and carrier wafer. The technology is currently in the experimental phase.

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are considering various methods, including excimer and ultraviolet (UV) lasers. The laser debonding technology is expected to be introduced starting with HBM4 with 16 layers.