Excimer and UV diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers can be used by the semiconductor industry, and others, in applications that cannot be performed by mechanical, chemical, or other laser fabrication methods. These lasers also produce better results than other methods in micromachining, dicing and scribing, and via drilling. In this column, some of the most important applications of excimer and UV DPSS lasers will be reviewed to illustrate how they can have a significant impact on the development and productivity of the semiconductor industry.
Excimer lasers offer maximum power and the shortest wavelength (351, 308, 248, 193 and 157nm) of all narrowband UV sources, with a large beam that provides homogeneous illumination of large areas. DPSS lasers offer excellent beam quality and a high repetition rate while providing a small beam size for microfeatures. Vanadate (Nd:YVO4)-based DPSS lasers are robust lasers that produce an infrared (IR) beam at ~1µm. Efficient frequency conversion allows these lasers to be used at 355nm and 266nm with several watts of available power.