Body of Knowledge (BOK) for Copper Wire BondsCopper wire bonds have replaced gold wire bonds in the majority of commercial semiconductor devices for the latest technology nodes. Although economics has been the driving mechanism to lower semiconductor packaging costs for a savings of about 20% by replacing gold wire bonds with copper, copper also has materials property advantages over gold. When compared to gold, copper has approximately: 25% lower electrical resistivity, 30% higher thermal conductivity, 75% higher tensile strength and 45% higher modulus of elasticity. Copper wire bonds on aluminum bond pads are also more mechanically robust over time and elevated temperature due to the slower intermetallic formation rate - approximately 1/100th that of the gold to aluminum intermetallic formation rate. However, there are significant tradeoffs with copper wire bonding - copper has twice the hardness of gold which results in a narrower bonding manufacturing process window and requires that the semiconductor companies design more mechanically rigid bonding pads to prevent cratering to both the bond pad and underlying chip structure. Furthermore, copper is significantly more prone to corrosion issues. The semiconductor packaging industry has responded to this corrosion concern by creating a palladium coated copper bonding wire, which is more corrosion resistant than pure copper bonding wire. Also, the selection of the device molding compound is critical because use of environmentally friendly green compounds can result in internal CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) mismatches with the copper wire bonds that can eventually lead to device failures during thermal cycling. Despite the difficult problems associated with the changeover to copper bonding wire, there are billions of copper wire bonded devices delivered annually to customers. It is noteworthy that Texas Instruments announced in October of 2014 that they are shipping microcircuits containing copper wire bonds for safety critical automotive applications. An evaluation of copper wire bond technology for applicability to spaceflight hardware may be warranted along with concurrently compiling a comprehensive understanding of the failure mechanisms involved with copper wire bonded semiconductor devices.
Rutkowski, E. (ARES Corp. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Sampson, M. J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
December 18, 2015
January 1, 2015
Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Public Use Permitted.
Body of Knowledge (BOK)spaceflight hardwareCopper Wire Bonds