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A Low Cost Aluminum Wire Bondable Nickel Coating For use in Electronic Applications
Keywords: aluminum wire bonding, alternative, phosphorous nickel
The preferred method of attaching an aluminum wire to a lead frame was via an aluminum inlayed material. This aluminum to aluminum bonding system is a reliable wire bonding metallurgical system due to the fact that it is resilient to oxidation and adverse to intermetallic formation. Currently electronic manufacturers are in search of alternative materials and systems to replace this inlay system. A brief overview of current precious metal alternatives such as gold flashed nickel, palladium and silver will be discussed, unfortunately, all of these alternatives do not offer a cost advantage. This presentation will review low-cost alternatives for the current aluminum wire/aluminum inlay wire bonding technology. One such low-cost alternative is a nickel based plating system. Aluminum bonded to nickel coatings or inlays have been used in high-production on power devices for over 15 years with no significant reliability problems reported. The main difficulty encountered during aluminum wire bonding to nickel plated coatings is bondability rather than reliability. Nickel surfaces will slowly oxidize; this nickel oxide layer can be the source of various wire bond failures. This presentation will focus on the current work being done on an electroplatable phosphorous nickel coating system. This system has been developed and is being used as a substrate coating for automotive aluminum wire bonding applications. The presentation will focus on cost benefits, design flexibility and reliability/bondability test data gathered over the past several years.
Michael J. Brouillard, Director of Metallurgical Processes
Sumco LLC
Indianapolis, IN

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