Cleaving Silicon Wafers for Research & Development

university wafer substrates

How to Cleave a Silicon Wafer

When cleaving silicon wafers, it is important to follow the correct orientation of the samples. For instance, if the sample is 60 degrees on one side, it must be cleaved along the 110 plane. The following are some tips to follow when chopping a silicon wafer. It is important to understand the correct orientation of the material. Also, if you are using the tool for semiconductor purposes, use a high-quality diamond scribe tip.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need instructions for silicon wafer cutting.

Video on How to Cleave Silicon Wafers.

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Easy to Cut Silicon Wafer

How to cut silicon wafer? A scientist has asked the following question: We need 20 mm / 20 mm rectangular chips diced from naturally oxidized (100) (undoped) Si wafers, 400 microns thick. We need about 100 chips. We want to make sure that we can cleave them easily along a direction parallel to the rectangle sides, therefore the chips should be cut along the [100] directions. Can you please provide a quote?  Just to confirm, the Si chips should be single-side polished and not be intentionally oxidized (just bare undoped Si, only naturally oxidized) which is very important for our application.

UniversityWafer, Inc. Quoted:

20mm x 20mm x 400um Chip, <100>, Undoped, SSP
Quantity: 100pcs
Ask for pricing.

Video: Cleaving (111) Silicon Wafers

Cleaving Silicon Wafers

Micro-cleaving tools have been used to cleave silicon wafers for over 30 years. While they improved targeting cleaving silicon results for 100 and 111 orientationsaccuracy and sample quality, they were still limited by lower throughput, high cost, and inability to handle small samples. LatticeAx 420 is Electron Microscopy Sciences' highest-quality clive solution. It combines a small footprint workstation with a vision package and four-um optical resolution. This device enables cleaving with 10um accuracy in a matter of five minutes.

The standard process for cleaving silicon wafers produces dies with controlled dimensions and less material loss. Today, the thinnest cut of silicon is 200um. The quality of silicone wafers is crucial to the final product. The cleaving process directly affects the thickness and surface crystal orientation of the silicon. It is important to follow the process specifications, because any mistake can lead to uneven thickness, roughness, or loss of valuable materials.

If for some reason you don't know if your wafers are (100) or (111) orientation, then you can use a hammer and nail to find out!

Cleaving (100) silicon wafers results on the left

Cleaving (111) silicon wafers

Watch the video above for cleaving instruction.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Researchers Experiment with CO2 Laser to Cleave Glass

In the experiment, researchers used a soda lime glass. We used a CO2 laser to cut the glass. After cutting, we observed the crack propagation using a high-speed polarization camera. The crack propagated as we expected. We measured the retardation of birefringence using a polarization camera and compared it with that of a numerical calculation. We also observed the retardation of birefringence at the crack tip. The retardation was consistent with that caused by mode I deformation. The mode I deformation decreased as the crack approached the edge of the glass.

What About Cleaving Germanium Wafers?

A researcher asks Do Germanium (100) wafers have cleavage planes? Dicing is not an option at the moment. Do cleavage planes for Germanium (100) essentially behave like Silicon (100), with cleavage planes being parallel to the major/minor flats (like you show in your left picture on your website, and in your weblink to the video on cleaving Si). Is that correct?

We already bought a (100) Germanium wafer from University Wafer earlier this summer (see forwarded email below). I just wanted to double-check with you before making a cleaving attempt. I'm very comfortable cleaving  with GaAs/InP/Si etc, but I have not yet tried Ge wafers.

Researcher purchased

Ge Item #2478
50.8mm Undoped <100> >50 ohm-cm 500um SSP

UniversityWafer, Inc. Replied:

The difference between cleaving Silicon vs Germanium wafers is that you have to dice by machine. Simply cleaving will not provide good results as Ge are more brittle than Si.

What Cleaved Silicon Wafers are Used for: Elastocapillary Interactions Between Liquids and Thin Solid Films Under Tension Research?

Research Paper

In addition, primarily two materials were used as substrates. Silicon wafers (University
Wafer) were cleaved into 1 cm x 1 cm pieces to serve as a supporting rigid
substrate for polymer lms. Freshly cleaved 3 cm x 3 cm mica substrates were used solely as an intermediary for lms that were to be strained or made
free-standing, as will be described in more detail in the following section. Silicon and
mica are ideal substrates because they are extremely smooth and clean when freshly
cleaved.