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The True Cost of Hermeticity in Microelectronic Packaging
Keywords: Reliability, Packaging, Hermeticity
Reliability in microelectronic packaging has been, and will continue to be, a major concern that must be taken into account early in the design of a package. Decisions made relative to packaging materials and the methods for achieving environmental protection drive many other aspects of the design, such as component selection and next higher assembly interfaces. A better understanding of current methods for achieving reliability allows the design community to determine the most appropriate packaging solution for use in a given application. Environmental protection in microelectronic packaging may be achieved both with and without hermeticity. Hermetic solutions require a means of sealing the package via laser or seam weld type processes in order to provide environmental protection to the components within the package. These packages are typically in the form of either a metal box assembly or a ceramic substrate with a soldered lead frame. Non-hermetic packaging solutions can be accomplished on a wide variety of material sets but require environmentally protective coatings to prevent damage to the packaged components. Hermetic and non-hermetic packaging solutions, in addition to various types of each, have unique advantages and disadvantages depending upon the application. Characteristics such as electrical performance, producibility, structural integrity and cost must be considered when choosing a packaging solution for an application. This paper will review current microelectronic packaging technology trends and present a trade study on the materials and methods used to achieve environmental protection.
Timothy Dittman, Mechanical Engineer
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
Linthicum, MD

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