Silicon Wire Sawing

© Photo Fraunhofer IWM

Minimizing kerf loss during wire sawing of silicon wafers

Industrially, multi-wire saws are used for the separation of silicon ingots. A steel wire is drawn over pulleys whose indentations guarantee a constant spacing of the wires. The sawing process is achieved by pressing the silicon ingot against the wire mesh, which is moistened with abrasive slurry. The slurry typically consists of polyethylene glycol and angular SiC grains. The challenge is to simultaneously minimize silicon kerf loss while maximizing sawing efficiency. At the Fraunhofer IWM, particle based simulations have been implemented  for the sawing process which is difficult to access experimentally; these provide insights into interactions within the carrier fluid, abrasive grains and silicon surfaces and show optimization options for both sawing waste and sawing efficiency.

  • Bierwisch, C.; Kübler, R.; Kleer, G.; Moseler, M.; Modelling of contact regimes in wire sawing with dissipative particle dynamics, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369/1945 (2011) 2422-2430 Link