Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about LatticeGear and the LatticeAx.

Who should be interested in accurate, silicon wafer cleaving?
How will the LatticeAx™ improve my cross-section sample quality and throughput?
How are Failure Analysts, Engineers and Scientists using the LatticeAx?
How can I use the LatticeAx™ to increase sample throughput in my lab?
What are the most important values of the LatticeAx™ silicon wafer cleaver?
Can you summarize the value of the LatticeAx?
How much space will I need for my LatticeAx™?
Is LatticeAx™ a standalone tool? If so, what are the setup requirements?
What sample types and size range are typical for the LatticeAx™ and the Wafer Cleaving Station?
Does LatticeGear have a solution for cleaving small semiconductor devices?
Does sample cleanliness affect the indent or cleave quality of the LatticeAx™?
Prior to indenting, how do you set the sample position on the LatticeAx™ stage?
Can the cleaving process damage my sample?
What kind of material can be used with the LatticeAx™?
Can the LatticeAx™ cleave in an air free GloveBox?
What is the lifetime of the LatticeAx Diamond Indenter?

Who should be interested in accurate, silicon wafer cleaving?

Anyone who wishes to cleave single crystalline substrate samples and is not satisfied with the results produced by the basic methods (scribes, pins, pliers).  The LatticeAx is a cost effective, accurate, high throughput, wafer cleaving solution.  Laboratories with high sample volume may also need to relieve the bottleneck existing around expensive capital equipment.  Additionally, it may not be practical to invest in high end cleaving equipment but easy to envision LatticeAx stations for cleaving.

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How will the LatticeAx™ improve my cross-section sample quality and throughput?

The LatticeAx™ is easy to use and  can help you to speed up and improve your sample preparation.

Here's the short list:

  1. High quality cross-section - Direct cleave to SEM

  2. Accurate targeting 20-50 microns
  3. Small samples (as small as 4mm)
  4. Successfully cleaving targets far away from the edge and multiple targets on one line
  5. Cleave out of the package samples with - irregular cleaved leading edge
  6. Flexible, handles large, thin wafer irregular sized samples

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How are Failure Analysts, Engineers and Scientists using the LatticeAx?

The LatticeAx is versatile and simple.  It is used to prepare cross-sctions for direct observation in the SEM and other applications needing accurately cleaved samples. LatticeGear users are using the LatticeAx for the following applications.

  1. Target localization prior to FIB – improve slow turnaround time per sample, reduce  bottleneck, and decrease  Ga damaging by using mostly fine aperture (positioning the target right at the edge).

  2. Prep for Broad Beam ion milling or polishing - cleave the desired sample dimensions with the area of interest (AOI) at the ideal distance from the edge
  3. Cleaving to create uniform samples for other analysis tools with non-wafer scale stages
  4. Downsize samples for SEM with height restriction – The LatticeAx™ can be used to precisely, damage-free cleave a sample post preparation by any user, irrelevant of skills, experience or expertise.
  5. Vertical, mirror image cleaving for photonics analysis
  6. Place the Ax it in a glovebox for air free cleaving
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How can I use the LatticeAx™ to increase sample throughput in my lab?

​The LatticeAx™ cleaving system helps users to overcome poor quality cleaving and variability between different technicians and engineers.  It does it simply and without complex machines.  With better cleaving capabilities, every sample can first be cleaved and only if needed, follow on with further sample preparation steps, which expected to be minimized.

How the LatticeAx™ can help to increase sample throughput in your lab:

  1. Cleaving in accurate and of consistent quality so more samples can be cleaved & analyzed without typical lapping that can be required after manual cleaving or sawing.
  2. Cleaving and direct analysis also means less cost of consumables.
  3. Efficient use of Focused Ion Beams (FIB).  Quick cleanup of cross-sections using the FIB.  Enables 90 degree cross-sections for better SEM imaging and accurate CD measurement.
  4. Quick cleaving of small samples to make them compatible with immersion lens SEMs.
  5. Increase the throughput of ion beam polisher (IBP).  With an accurate cleave there is IBP recipes will be repeatable and with less material to remove throughput will be increased.
  6. High success rates minimize the need for multiple attempts to produce a quality sample
  7. User installed, trained and maintained.  Very little maintenance and consumables.
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What are the most important values of the LatticeAx™ silicon wafer cleaver?

​The LatticeAx™ will change the wafer cleaving workflow in your laboratory.  It compliments other cleaving tools as it is more accurate than manual cleaving and less costly and higher throughput than complex automated cleaving machines.

The LatticeAx™

  1. High accuracy cleaving, fast, low COO, and repeatable
  2. Setup in a <1 hour, use self explanatory training via user guide.
  3. High magnification optical image gives feedback to the user when selecting the target, indenting and cleaving
  4. Diamond indenter can be positioned over the target enabling the indent to be located accurately
  5. Repeatable process for a wide range of materials and sample thickness using the Indenter knob (allows the user to control indent force)

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Can you summarize the value of the LatticeAx?

​Of course! The LatticeAx™ will enable better cleaving accuracy and quality relative to manual methods and therefore improve cleaving throughput and sample loss.  It takes little training, users will be "cleaving in minutes and experts in a day".

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How much space will I need for my LatticeAx™?

The Ax can fit in the palm of your hand so it easily fits in the laboratory with optical microscopes and other semiconductor sample preparation tools.

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Is LatticeAx™ a standalone tool? If so, what are the setup requirements?

Yes, the Ax is a STAND ALONE tool and can be mobile as needed.  Setup a stable flat surface for the LatticeAx™ and power for the vacuum pump and computer.

Set up requirements:

  1. Flat, stable surface to support the LatticeAx™ and its gear – with space > 18”x24" – 46cm x 61cm

  2. Power for the Vacuum pump (110V or 220V depending on local requirements) - should be placed on the floor preferably mounted with brackets
  3. Computer Running Windows 7, or XP (note: the DinoCapture software will operate on Mac OS but with a limited feature set.  It is recommended that a Windows OS is used.)

Additional Items

-Mouse

-Keyboard

-Monitor and power

-Video cable to the monitor

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What sample types and size range are typical for the LatticeAx™ and the Wafer Cleaving Station?

Any single crystalline substrate

Sample type: Front end, Backend, TSVs, Single die, Out of the package.

We developed the recommended The Wafer Cleaving Station (see in the store) that offers the entire tool set to cleave a full wafer down to desired sized samples.

Minimum sample size on the LatticeAx™ is 7mm in width

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Does LatticeGear have a solution for cleaving small semiconductor devices?

Yes for samples <7 mm wide, we have developed the Small Sample Cleaver, manual cleaving platform.

For a full ‘set-indent-cleave’ process the minimum sample WIDTH is 7mm. The minimum sample size of the Small Sample Cleaver is 4mm.  For a site specific cleave,  ‘set-indent’ is performed on the Ax and the cleave is performed using the Small Sample Cleaver.  For more information about this product email us at Email LatticeGearSales

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Does sample cleanliness affect the indent or cleave quality of the LatticeAx™?

No need to clean the sample but it is recommended to clean the surface of the LatticeAx™ so it is ready for the next sample.

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Prior to indenting, how do you set the sample position on the LatticeAx™ stage?

The “Positioning” or ‘SET’ is divided into 2 steps: coarse and fine.  Accuracy and cleave quality are determined by the positioning and quality of the indent.

The coarse positioning is done by manually placing the sample on the stage, silicon facing down and layers up, while the edge (cross-section) is against the breaker bar (that’s the stopper). Now, turn the vacuum on to hold the sample in place.

Fine positioning – Fine positioning for an accurate indent is achieved by positioning the diamond indenter tip over the edge of the sample using the micrometer control until it is aligned with the target. The sample will cleave along the crystal plane defined by the linear indent visible on the sample surface.  The indent process is typically view using the Eagle Eye Camera at 40-80X routinely enabling cleaving accuracy of <40 microns. 

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Can the cleaving process damage my sample?

There are two contact points on the sample during the cleaving process, one on each side of the indent.

The cleaving is done post indent and consists of 3 points: a pin positioned exactly under the indent location, and 2 surface contact points located on the side of the indent that push against the pin underneath. Each point is 0.22mm diameter and 6mm apart.  You are able to control the cleaving bar Z motion towards the surface of the sample, such that you can arrive to it very slowly and push lightly to cleave. Because of the perfect initial indent and its positioning over the “top of the hill”, very little force is needed to initiate the cleave.  

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What kind of material can be used with the LatticeAx™?

The LatticeAx™ performs best on samples with single crystalline substrate.

Unlike a scriber pen that is used to scribe a long, relatively thick line which determines the cleave line, this patented pending, smart device utilizes a custom diamond tip to scribe a “dent” (500 microns long) next to the ‘target line’ which will start the cleave but it will continue through the natural path of the substrate (for example, silicon crystalline). This assures high accuracy and high quality without any damage created otherwise by the scribe line.

The LatticeAx performs best on material that has single crystalline structure, glass and glass types do not have such, which requires one to use a scriber pen and scribe a full line by which the cleave will occur.

We would be happy to try cleaving your samples and advise.

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Can the LatticeAx™ cleave in an air free GloveBox?

The LatticeAx™ can fit in the palm of your hand so it can easily be placed in a glovebox (we don’t sell glovebox). Once in the glovebox, you can cleave the sample (with or without OM) and not expose the sample x-section to air.

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What is the lifetime of the LatticeAx Diamond Indenter?

It depends on the usage type, longer life for less accurate applications and higher frequency replacement for sub-50 micron accuracy applications. The lifetime is not determined by time but by the number of indents.

Through usage, its sharp tip slowly becomes more rounded, which means, the indent it produces will be wider (all relative, it is still in microns). The finer the indent is, the higher the cleaving precision. As wider the indent becomes, the less accurate the cleave will be. If you use it for large target or as a pre-prep device, it can last hundreds (maybe a thousand) of scribes, however if you wish to use it for higher accuracy (<50-microns), you should expect to replace it after 200-400 indents or as you see the accuracy degrading. 

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