Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry


The process and materials used in Semiconductor manufacturing require high precision and wear resistance, as such the process of manufacturing these tools requires the most precise and resilient micro tools, making the process costly and complex, Telcon in this article reviews the place of Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry and main wear elements in the Semiconductor manufacturing process and shows how using the right tools for the job, can save both time and money for the manufacturer and of the Semiconductor Showerhead and of wafer holders in the Etching process using Telcon high precision micro PCD tools.

The Nature of Machining ceramic materials

Semiconductor manufacturers use ceramics for their mechanical and environmental stability in highly harsh and corrosive environments. Ceramics are adopted in packaging, where hermeticity, thermal conductivity, and mechanical integrity are highly needed. In communications and sensing, ceramic dielectrics support high rates of data transmission and monitoring. One of the vastly used semiconductors materials is Silicon.



Typical materials in Semiconductor industry

Monocrystal silicon the material for PCB in semiconductor industry and where Micro PCD tools are most needed

One of the most used materials in semiconductors is Monocrystalline silicon (c-Si). It has a crystalline structure, or crystal lattice, as continuous solid with no grain boundaries and with no impurities. It is the material for both silicon wafers and semiconductor processing components to avoid contamination. In addition, this gives monocrystalline silicon an advantage over other materials to reliably deliver desired performance specifications within highly complex devices such as microprocessors, electrodes, gas distribution plates. It can be doped with small amounts of other chemical elements to gain specific semiconductor performance characteristics.



Quartz or Fused Silica (SiO2) coomonly used material in Semiconductor industry

Another typical material in the semiconductors is Quartz or Fused Silica (SiO2). Its high heat resistance and purity allows the usage of quartz in silicon wafer manufacturing processes. Fused quartz plates and discs are needed in the semiconductor industry for the fabrication of boats, pedestals, wafers and wafer carriers, for batch processing equipment .For single wafer processing equipment, plates are used to make windows, gas distribution plates, shower plates, wafer carriers and susceptors. In wet cleaning processes the material is used for tank material. Large plates are also used in Flat panel display manufacturing.




Machining methods for Semiconductor industry materials

Most of semiconductor materials are difficult to machine because of their high hardness and brittleness. For example, monocrystalline silicone hardness is around 1200 Hv, Quartz hardness is around 1100 Hv, Alumina (Al2O3) hardness is 1500 Hv and SiC hardness is 2400 Hv. The limitations of mechanical micromachining in the mentioned materials are a consequence of the high values of cutting forces in relation to the tool strength properties, rapid cutting edges wear, chipping at the hole entry and possible cracks in the workpiece.

Micro holes with diameters below 1000 microns are a typical feature of various semiconductors components. There are few methods for micro drilling in hard ceramics; Laser drilling, EDM drilling and Mechanical drilling. Laser drilling would be effective from 5 to 100 microns. EDM micro drilling would be used in cases where very high ratio of hole depth to hole diameter is required given the workpiece material is conductive. Hole diameters from 300 microns and ratio depth of up to 30, are better mechanically drilled since it is faster and more accurate, therefore it is highly in use for semiconductors components.

Cutting tools solutions – Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry

Tungsten carbide tools are just too close in hardness to the workpiece materials, therefore wear out immediately. Due to the abrasiveness structure of these materials, also CVD diamond coated tools are not recommended due to rapid peel-off of the coating. Due to material properties as mentioned, machining process can only be made with PCD (Poly Crystalline Diamond) cutting tools. making Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry the only viable option.

Telcon Diamond Ltd. is one of very small group of tool manufacturers to produce micro PCD tools for the semiconductors industry. There are two groups of tools: Micro PCD drills and Micro PCD end-mills. The machining is carried out utilizing highly sophisticated technology to achieve very accurate and ultrafine cutting edge. The PCD grade in use is suitable for micro tools with ultrafine tool edge integrity. Unlike other PCD cutting tools, these micro PCD tool are featured with full PCD head, whereas tool geometry can be fully flexible and optimized.


Telcon’s micro PCD drills series, MPDR, ranging from 0.4mm up to 2.0mm, are used for instance in semiconductors for drilling very tough materials like monocrystalline silicone and Quartz. The high-performance drills allow drilling thousands of holes before replacement.

telcon Micro PCB drill for machining semiconductor shower heads


The micro PCD end-mills, ball nose (MPBN) and square end (MPEM) design, ranging from 0.5mm to 2.0mm, are used for machining of hard ceramic materials which are common in the semiconductors such as

Zirconia, Quartz, c-Si, Al2O3 and SiC.

Telcon PCB Endmill for milling Wafer placment and very fine milling in Semiconductor industry



Application Example 1 – practical use of Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry:

Drilling in c-Si wafer, 300mm diameter and 10mm thickness, 800 holes with diameter of 0.45mm and 7mm depth.

The part is a Gas Distributor Plate, used in the etching process of the silicon wafer.

Drill is used in 15,000 RPM and feed rate of 20 mm/min, in pecking cycle of 0.15mm.

The holes are inspected mainly for chipping at the hole entrance.

Typical Telcon drill life is 7000 good holes!

Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry such as Telcon PCB drill used in manufacturing Semiconductor showerheads


Typical hole structure on monocrystal silicon electrode. Holes: 0.45mm dia. x 7mm depth

semiconductor showerhead for wafer etching process —-> through holes on gas etching semiconductor showerhead done using Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry —> Hole cross section in Semiconductor showerhead manufacturing




Application Example 2:

Machining of 25mm groove depth in Fused Silica (Quartz) material with 2.0mm micro PCD end mill.

The part is used as a carrier in the various processes of the silicon wafer.

The tool is used in 5,000 RPM and feed rate of 150 mm/min, in a depth of cut 0.05-0.1mm.

The material is inspected for chipping and small cracks.

Typical Telcon tool life is 50 meters minimum.


Telcon micro PCB Endmill used in Wafer holder precise milling process


A typical Quartz ring, 300mm diameter, with internal grooves of 2.0mm width and 25mm depth.

Quartz Wafer carrier in Semiconductor manufacturing process —> close up of wafer holder milling process done with Micro PCD Drills in Semiconductors Industry


For more information on our Micro tools solutions:


Telcon Diamond Ltd. is a world leading manufacturer of Diamond PCD and CVD cutting tools for the machining of composite materials: CFRP, GFRP, MMC, CMC and hard ceramics. TELCON produces a wide range of tools used by many of the world’s leaders in the field including Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed-Martin, Spirit, ATK, Embraer, Denel, ELBIT and IAI. Telcon’s tools include: PCD tipped Drills, CVD diamond drills, Carbide drills, PCD Countersinks, Carbide tipped Countersinks, PCD tipped End Mills and CVD diamond End Mills and Carbide End Mills.

TELCON possesses the most advanced Grinding, and EDM machines and state of the art Quality control equipment. TELCON’s vacuum brazing equipment is highly controlled to ensure repeatability and reproducibility of brazing operation. TELCON uses world class PCD and carbide grades and CVD coatings. In addition to tools manufacturing, Telcon operating reconditioning services for PCD and carbide tools.

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