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Development of a Mechanical Cycling Reliability Test Program for Evaluating Thermal Interface Materials for Semiconductor Test and Burn-in Requirements
Keywords: Thermal interface material, Reliability testing, Semiconductor test
Development of a mechanical reliability test for evaluating durability as well as thermal resistance performance of specialized thermal interface materials will be described. Test results for Rth, thickness change, and mechanical contact cycling will be presented, with analysis. Thermal interface materials evaluated for semiconductor test and burn-in must meet demanding mechanical and reliability requirements that are not commonly considered by thermal interface material (TIM) manufacturers. The TIM provides an important element in thermal control and heat dissipation during testing procedures and, for through-put and cost considerations during volume testing procedures, the TIM must survive multiple test head contacts to the device under test and, for burn-in requirements, higher operating temperatures. These challenging mechanical and reliability requirements are distinct for semiconductor test and burn-in, requiring a specific focus on certain attributes that are not found elsewhere in the TIM materials market. Evaluation of an appropriate TIM therefore requires testing that traditionally is not performed by the materials manufacturers. Test conditions include control for: - Repeated contacts between parallel test head surfaces at typical operating temperatures; - Combined repetitious contact between parallel test head surfaces with thermal performance; - Repeated contacts between an angled test head surface and a secondary surface, to create a strike angle similar to socket and test head procedures; - Repeated contacts between an angled test head surface and a secondary surface, at elevated temperatures, to replicate burn-in testing requirements. The goal of this testing program, conducted in three phases, is to determine how a set of thermal interface materials perform: - Thermal performance, measured as thermal resistance at specified clamping forces; - Mechanical performance, measured as number of insertion cycles completed without deformation or damage at each specified force applied; - Thermal and mechanical performance, over a specified number of insertion cycles completed, at elevated temperatures. Reliability data and physical descriptions will be provided for material attributes that are important for the semiconductor test and burn-in industry, including evaluation of ease of application; presence (if any) of residue; and ease of removal and clean-up. Information will be presented in a practical and non-commercial manner. Test data by an independent test laboratory will include thermal resistance data generated per an industry standard test methodology.
David L Saums, Principal
Amesbury, MA

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