Review Article

Identifying the Development State of Sintered Silver (Ag) as a Bonding Material in the Microelectronic Packaging Via a Patent Landscape Study

[+] Author and Article Information
K. S. Siow

Institute of Microengineering and Nanoelectronics,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
Bangi 43600, Selangor D.E., Malaysia
e-mails: kimsiow@ukm.edu.my;

Y. T. Lin

Department of Business Management,
College of Management,
National Sun Yat-Sen University,
No. 70, Lianhai Rd,
Gushan District,
Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan
e-mail: dean.all@msa.hinet.net

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received January 12, 2016; final manuscript received March 13, 2016; published online April 21, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Toru Ikeda.

J. Electron. Packag 138(2), 020804 (Apr 21, 2016) (13 pages) Paper No: EP-16-1006; doi: 10.1115/1.4033069 History: Received January 12, 2016; Revised March 13, 2016

Sintered silver joint is a porous silver that bonds a semiconductor die to the substrate as part of the packaging process. Sintered Ag is one of the few possible bonding methods to fulfill the operating conditions of wide band-gap (WBG) power device technologies. We review the current technology development of sintered Ag as a bonding material from the perspective of patents filed by various stakeholders since late 1980s. This review addresses the formulation of sintered pastes (i.e., nano-Ag, hybrid Ag, and micron Ag fillers), innovations in the process and equipment to form this Ag joint. This review will provide the insights and confidence to engineers, scientists from universities and industry as well as investors who are developing and commercializing the sintered Ag as a bonding material for microelectronic packaging.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Fig. 1

An increasing number of patents filed and granted from 1995 till 2015 based on “sintered Ag in bonding applications” (refer to text for details)

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Fig. 2

Companies or universities patenting technologies related to sintered Ag as bonding materials

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Fig. 3

Variation of die shear strength for pressureless and pressure sintered Ag joints of different die sizes, after thermal aging at between 250 °C and 300 °C for up to 1000 hrs [1420]

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Fig. 4

Influence of the input factors (i.e., design, process and Ag paste formulation) on the microstructural properties (i.e., porosity, grain sizes, and interfacial properties) and the resulting mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of the sintered Ag joint

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Fig. 5

Scanning electron micrographs of pressureless sintered nano-Ag paste at 280 °C under three different environments, namely, (a) N2, (b) 1% O2/N2, and (c) 4%H2/N2 [22]

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Fig. 6

Process mapping for a typical sintered Ag paste in terms of sinter pressure, temperature, and time demarcating the “bond” and “no bond” regions [21]

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Fig. 7

The “iron triangle” of sintering temperature, pressure and time to produce a reliable pressured sintered Ag joints; the smaller triangle utilizes the surface curvature and surface energy of the Ag nanoparticles to reduce these three parameters simultaneously

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Fig. 8

Driving force for the consolidation of nanopowder as a function of grain size [28]

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Fig. 9

Dimensional relationship of the diameters for the two Ag nanoparticles (2 and 3) and another micron-sized Ag filler (1) used to produce pressureless nano-Ag paste [48]

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Fig. 10

Shear strength of mono, bimodal, and trimodal hybrid Ag paste formulation for pressure and pressureless sintering at 350 °C [49,50]

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Fig. 11

Thermal conductivity of sintered Ag joints as a function of density and temperature [74]

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Fig. 12

Common processing route for pressure and pressureless sintered Ag joints [4]

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Fig. 13

Relative density of nano-Ag and micron-Ag joint as afunction of sintering pressure. Density of pure-Ag is 10.49 g/cm3 [26,94].

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Fig. 14

(a) Sintering profile and (b) microstructures of the sintered Ag joints produced by lamination and pressure sintering (route 3) [15]

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Fig. 15

Top view of electrode arrangement to sinter the silicon dies on the DBC [105]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Evolution of inserts used in the sinter press (a) static insert, (b) spring loaded insert, and (c) DIT [21,110]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Typical process flows and parameters of solder paste, ECAs, pressureless, and pressure sinter Ag pastes as die attach materials

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Three phases of innovation namely: fluid, transitional, and specific phases, as described by Utterback [120]




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