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Dicing Development for low-k Copper Wafers using Nickel-Palladium-Gold Bond Pads for Automotive Application
Keywords: Dicing, Nickel-Palladium-Gold, low-k Copper
New automotive requirements expect plastic packages to survive higher operating temperatures with extended thermal duration. Mission profiles for under-the-hood and transmission application historically specified minimal duration at maximum junction temperature, such as 50 total hours at 150C, while keeping most of the total operating duration at lower temperatures. Further module integration and more stringent environmental requirements push modules and thus plastic packages closer to the heat source. As such, new mission profiles include more than 3500 total hours at 150C. To satisfy new automotive requirements, plastic packages must meet AEC Grade 0 or higher. One key limitation of the conventional plastic package is the use of gold bond wire on aluminum bond pad. Au-Al intermetallic degradation due to intermetallic transformation in high temperature storage condition remains the main reliability concern. More reliable intermetallic systems have been proposed that change the wire material and/or the bond pad metallization. An alternative wire material to gold, copper, has many benefits including low cost, high electrical and thermal conductivities and excellent reliability with aluminum pad metallization. Pad re-metallization using nickel/palladium, nickel/gold or nickel/palladium/gold over aluminum bond pad or copper bond pad offers a noble and reliable metal interconnect. This study focused on the development of dicing process for low-K-copper wafers having aluminum pad re-metallized with electroless nickel / electroless palladium / immersion gold Over Pad Metallization (OPM). Development wafers were pizza mask wafers on which multiple die designs and scribe grid production control (SGPC) modules were designed. SGPC modules are designed with aluminum probe pads that are used to monitor wafer-level process control. All aluminum features on the wafer were plated with nickel/palladium/gold OPM. With nickel about four times as hard as aluminum, OPM plated SGPC's were much more difficult to dice than conventional SGPC's with aluminum pads. Cracking on silicon sidewall with crack propagating towards the die was found to cause back-end-of-line (BEOL) delamination and device failure. Surface roughness and hardness measurements were taken on OPM variations. Extensive mechanical dicing studies were conducted to modulate the failures and resolve the dicing challenge. Laser grooving followed by mechanical dicing of OPM wafers was also performed. Packages underwent extensive reliability stress conditions. The associated process improvements described in this paper supported a successful integration of a 55nm die technology in Low Profile Quad Flat Package with Exposed Pad (LQFP-EP) meeting and exceeding AEC grade 0 requirements.
Tu Anh Tran,
Freescale Semiconductor
Austin, TX

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