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Laser-dicer Synova plots $8m expansion

An $8 million funding round will enable Swiss laser-dicing company Synova to open micromachining "centers" in some key high-tech regions around the world.

Armed with new debt financing, the wafer-dicing equipment vendor Synova is planning to open up micromachining application centers around the world in key high-tech locations.

The company believes that it will now be able to further penetrate the semiconductor wafer dicing market and make inroads into new applications by providing its services in closer proximity to its potential customer base.

One Swiss bank and one mezzanine fund (a financial combination comprising debt and equity options) have loaned the company a total of CHF 10 million ($8.1 million).

Synova has developed a unique approach to wafer-dicing. Its Laser Microjet machine is based on a high-power laser beam that is guided by a jet of water. The water also serves to cool the material being diced.

To date, the Lausanne-based company has sold 54 Laser Microjet machines - mostly for silicon semiconductor applications, although RF Micro Devices has also invested in the technology (see related story).

"This funding comes at a pivotal time for Synova," said CEO Bernold Richterzhagen. "Laser Microjet has experienced phenomenal traction in recent years, and our global expansion efforts are aligned with the market demand for innovative cutting technology."

Synova is looking to target emerging applications in the MEMS, hard-disk drive and organic LED industries. Its micromachining centers will also provide after-sales service.

The first such center will be located in the Silicon Valley area and will open in January next year.

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