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The Microelectronic Wire Bond: Past, Present, and Future
Keywords: Microelectronic Wire Bonds, Wire Bonding Technology, Trends in Wire Bonding
Almost from its very inception during the 1950s the microelectronic wire bond was the dominate form of first-level (chip to package or chip to board) interconnection. Even today, despite growing inroads of flip chip technology, wire bonds still account for about 85% of the multiple trillions of first-level chip interconnections made by the microelectronic industry each year. Wire bonding is reliable, flexible, and low cost when compared to other forms of first-level interconnections. As the functionality of integrated circuits continues on its ever increasing path, the demand for increased numbers of chip inputs and outputs (I/O) grows concurrently. Such demands for increased I/O and constrained chip and board areas have forced bonding pads to shrink in size with a finer pitch. In addition, easily bondable rigid inorganic substrates have given way to their more flexible organic counterparts. Even rigid die have been thinned to make them suitable for low profile applications such as three-dimensional stacking or flexible appliqués. Everywhere in the microelectronics industry new applications, materials, and structures are appearing and challenging the interconnection performance, and hence the dominance of the microelectronic wire bond. In the introductory portion of this article a brief history of wire bonding is presented along with a discussion of bond formation fundamentals. Aspects of wire bond reliability will be explored in conjunction with methods of quality control and testing. Following the introductory material, the article focuses on current techniques including fine pitch, bonding to stacked die, stud bumping, higher frequency bonding, and advanced testing methods. The article concludes with a discussion of new technologies and trends in the field of wire bonding and first-level interconnect.
Harry K. Charles, Jr., Chief Engineer
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Laurel, Maryland

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