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Aluminum-Scandium: A Material for Semiconductor Packaging

: Geißler, Ute; Thomas, Sven; Schneider-Ramelow, Martin; Mukhopadhyay, Biswajit; Lang, Klaus-Dieter


Journal of Electronic Materials 45 (2016), Nr.10, S.5456-5467
ISSN: 0361-5235
ISSN: 1543-186X
Fraunhofer IZM ()

A well-known aluminum-scandium (Al-Sc) alloy, already used in lightweight sports equipment, is about to be established for use in electronic packaging. One application for Al-Sc alloy is manufacture of bonding wires. The special feature of the alloy is its ability to harden by precipitation. The new bonding wires with electrical conductivity similar to pure Al wires can be processed on common wire bonders for aluminum wedge/wedge (w/w) bonding. The wires exhibit very fine-grained microstructure. Small Al3Sc particles are the main reason for its high strength and prevent recrystallization and grain growth at higher temperatures (>150[1]C). After the wire-bonding process, the interface is well closed. Reliability investigations by active power cycling demonstrated considerably improved lifetime compared with pure Al heavy wires. Furthermore, the Al-Sc alloy was sputter-deposited onto silicon wafer to test it as chip metallization in copper (Cu) ball/wedge bonding technology. After deposition, the layers exhibited fine-grained columnar structure and small coherent Al3Sc particles with dimensions of a few nanometers. These particles inhibit softening processes such as Al splashing in fine wire bonding processes and increase the thickness of remnant Al under the copper balls to 85% of the initial thickness.