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Characterization of thermo-mechanical damage in tin and sintered nano-silver solders

Description

Increasing density of microelectronic packages, results in an increase in thermal and mechanical stresses within the various layers of the package. To accommodate the high-performance demands, the materials used in the electronic package would also require improvement. Specifically, the damage

Increasing density of microelectronic packages, results in an increase in thermal and mechanical stresses within the various layers of the package. To accommodate the high-performance demands, the materials used in the electronic package would also require improvement. Specifically, the damage that often occurs in solders that function as die-attachment and thermal interfaces need to be addressed. This work evaluates and characterizes thermo-mechanical damage in two material systems – Electroplated Tin and Sintered Nano-Silver solder.

Tin plated electrical contacts are prone to formation of single crystalline tin whiskers which can cause short circuiting. A mechanistic model of their formation, evolution and microstructural influence is still not fully understood. In this work, growth of mechanically induced tin whiskers/hillocks is studied using in situ Nano-indentation and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD). Electroplated tin was indented and monitored in vacuum to study growth of hillocks without the influence of atmosphere. Thermal aging was done to study the effect of intermetallic compounds. Grain orientation of the hillocks and the plastically deformed region surrounding the indent was studied using Focused Ion Beam (FIB) lift-out technique. In addition, micropillars were milled on the surface of electroplated Sn using FIB to evaluate the yield strength and its relation to Sn grain size.

High operating temperature power electronics use wide band-gap semiconductor devices (Silicon Carbide/Gallium Nitride). The operating temperature of these devices can exceed 250oC, preventing use of traditional Sn-solders as Thermal Interface materials (TIM). At high temperature, the thermomechanical stresses can severely degrade the reliability and life of the device. In this light, new non-destructive approach is needed to understand the damage mechanism when subjected to reliability tests such as thermal cycling. In this work, sintered nano-Silver was identified as a promising high temperature TIM. Sintered nano-Silver samples were fabricated and their shear strength was evaluated. Thermal cycling tests were conducted and damage evolution was characterized using a lab scale 3D X-ray system to periodically assess changes in the microstructure such as cracks, voids, and porosity in the TIM layer. The evolution of microstructure and the effect of cycling temperature during thermal cycling are discussed.

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Date Created
2018

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Finite Element Method Assisted Analysis of Fatigue and Damage in Low Temperature Sintered Nano-Silver Soldered Joints

Description

Special thermal interface materials are required for connecting devices that operate at high temperatures up to 300°C. Because devices used in power electronics, such as GaN, SiC, and other wide bandgap semiconductors, can reach very high temperatures (beyond 250°C), a

Special thermal interface materials are required for connecting devices that operate at high temperatures up to 300°C. Because devices used in power electronics, such as GaN, SiC, and other wide bandgap semiconductors, can reach very high temperatures (beyond 250°C), a high melting point, and high thermal & electrical conductivity are required for the thermal interface material. Traditional solder materials for packaging cannot be used for these applications as they do not meet these requirements. Sintered nano-silver is a good candidate on account of its high thermal and electrical conductivity and very high melting point. The high temperature operating conditions of these devices lead to very high thermomechanical stresses that can adversely affect performance and also lead to failure. A number of these devices are mission critical and, therefore, there is a need for very high reliability. Thus, computational and nondestructive techniques and design methodology are needed to determine, characterize, and design the packages. Actual thermal cycling tests can be very expensive and time consuming. It is difficult to build test vehicles in the lab that are very close to the production level quality and therefore making comparisons or making predictions becomes a very difficult exercise. Virtual testing using a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) technique can serve as a good alternative. In this project, finite element analysis is carried out to help achieve this objective. A baseline linear FEA is performed to determine the nature and magnitude of stresses and strains that occur during the sintering step. A nonlinear coupled thermal and mechanical analysis is conducted for the sintering step to study the behavior more accurately and in greater detail. Damage and fatigue analysis are carried out for multiple thermal cycling conditions. The results are compared with the actual results from a prior study. A process flow chart outlining the FEA modeling process is developed as a template for the future work. A Coffin-Manson type relationship is developed to help determine the accelerated aging conditions and predict life for different service conditions.

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Date Created
2020