Electro Scientific Industries Inc. of Portland, Ore., a provider of photonic and laser systems for microengineering applications, announced that Switzerland-based semiconductor company STMicroelectronics has ordered its Cignis laser singulation system. ESI introduced the laser this week at the Semicon West 2008 microelectronics trade show in San Francisco. The order for the picosecond laser system is the result of an ongoing partnership between the two companies to produce a flexible, scalable laser for applications including wafer dicing, scribing and CMOS image sensor singulation, ESI said. "As the industry moves toward thinner wafers with lower k dielectrics for advanced devices, mechanical processes are reaching their limits," said Gareth Bignell, program manager, 300-mm equipment selection, STMicroelectronics. "Of the three types of wafer scribing processes available on the market, we found that mechanical saws could damage the dielectric layers, while nanosecond lasers weakened the wafer's die break strength." Bignell said ESI's experiments with picosecond lasers led to Cignis, its product for wafers thinner than 100 µm. As a result, "...we are optimistic that our collaboration will enable us to quickly and effectively transition from 65-nm to 45-nm processing to meet our product roadmaps."