Comparison of Nondestructive Testing Methods for Solder, Sinter, and Adhesive Interconnects in Power and Opto-Electronics
Reliability is one of the major requirements for power and opto-electronic devices across all segments. High operation temperature and/or high thermomechanical stress cause defects and degradation of materials and interconnects, which may lead to malfunctions with costly or even life-threatening consequences. To avoid or at least reduce failures, nondestructive testing (NDT) methods are common within development and production of power and opto-electronics. Currently, the dominating NDT methods are X-ray, scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM), and transient thermal analysis (TTA). However, they have different strengths and weaknesses with respect to materials and mechanical designs. This paper compares these NDT methods for different interconnect technologies, i.e., reflow soldering, adhesive, and sintered interconnection. While X-ray provided adequate results for soldered interfaces, inspection of adhesives and sintered interconnects was not possible. With SAM, evaluation of adhesives and sintered interconnects was also feasible, but quality depended strongly on the sample under test. TTA enabled sufficiently detailed results for all the interconnect applications. Automated TTA equipment, as the in-house developed tester used within this investigation, enabled measurement times compatible with SAM and X-ray. In the investigations, all methods revealed their pros and cons, and their selection has to depend on the sample under tests and the required analysis depth and data details. In the paper, guidelines are formulated for an appropriate decision on the NDT method depending on sample and requirements.