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Research Papers

Investigation of Active Power Cycling Combined With Passive Thermal Cycles on Discrete Power Electronic Devices

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexander Otto, Sven Rzepka

Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic
Nano Systems, ENAS,
Micro Materials Center,
Chemnitz D-09126, Germany

Bernhard Wunderle

Technical University of Chemnitz,
Chair of Materials and Reliability
of Microsystems,
Chemnitz D-09126, Germany

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received October 31, 2018; final manuscript received April 14, 2019; published online June 17, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Przemyslaw Gromala.

J. Electron. Packag 141(3), 031012 (Jun 17, 2019) (12 pages) Paper No: EP-18-1098; doi: 10.1115/1.4043646 History: Received October 31, 2018; Revised April 14, 2019

Active power cycling (APC) is a standardized and well-established method for reliability assessment and product qualification in power electronics (PEs) technologies. Repetitive pulses of load current are applied to cause cyclic thermal swings in the p–n junction and in the whole semiconductor device. They induce thermo-mechanical stresses, which ultimately leads to the typical interconnect failure in the “devices under test.” However, these tests are insensitive with respect to new automotive system architectures, in which PEs devices are exposed to additional loads besides the intrinsic thermal swings. The trends in PEs toward miniaturization, higher power density, heterogeneous system integration, and the deployment of PEs in harsher environments combined with longer lifetime and higher uptime requirements strongly increase the reliability demands in general and the need for more improved reliability assessment methodologies in particular. The new testing methods shall be more comprehensive and more efficient, i.e., they shall simultaneously cover the real service conditions better and reduce testing time. One promising approach is the combination of loading factors—such as the superposition of active power cycling by passive thermal cycles (TC). Both loading factors are well known to cause most relevant failure mechanisms in PEs. In reality, the PE devices are exposed to both factors simultaneously. Hence, this load case should also be replicated in the test. The paper will report a systematic investigation of such superimposed test schemes, which cover the case of self-heating and passive heating (from neighboring elements) of the PEs devices under real service conditions. Typical discrete PEs components in TO-200 packages are selected as test vehicles as they are likewise relevant for the domains of consumer or automotive electronics. The paper details the test concept and discusses the quantitative and qualitative test results.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematical drawing of a typical discrete PE device placed on a heat sink

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Fig. 2

Schematic illustration of the junction temperature profile during standard APC testing

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Fig. 3

Schematic illustration of the junction temperature profile during APC testing superimposed with passive thermal cycling of the cooling temperature

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Fig. 5

TO-220-based test vehicle (left: photography, right: cross section)

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Fig. 6

Schematical drawing of the test bench

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Fig. 7

Image of test setup with TO-220 devices placed on the temperature-controllable heatsink

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Fig. 8

Voltage profile during power cycling

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Fig. 9

Voltage evolution as a function of cycles for two different medium temperatures, resulting in different EoL determination with respect to the actual wire-bond failures

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Fig. 10

Exemplary evolution of the forward voltage for a superimposed APC test (test case IX, sample #132)

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Fig. 11

Exemplary evolution of the junction temperatures (Tvj,max, Tvj,min, and ΔTvj,APC) and of the thermal resistance for a superimposed APC test (test case IX, #132)

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Fig. 12

Exemplaric evolution of forward voltage, thermal resistance and maximum virtual junction temperature over the testing period until EoL (test case I, sample #164)

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Fig. 13

Weibull plot for all tests with temperature swing of 75K (test cases I, V, and VIII)

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Fig. 14

Weibull plot for all tests with temperature swing of 105K (test cases II, IV, VI, and IX)

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Fig. 15

Weibull plot for all tests with temperature swing of 135K (test cases III, VII, and X)

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Fig. 16

Cross section of a failed wire-bond

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Fig. 17

Lifetime diagram with test results

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Fig. 18

Comparison of effective temperature Teff with Tj,max, Tj,min, and Tj,m

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Fig. 19

Modeled lifetime data (excluding test case V, where a different TIM was used) versus the corresponding test data

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Fig. 20

Comparison of averaged superimposed APC test data with the calculated lifetimes based on the standard APC tests

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Fig. 21

Coefficient of thermal expansion of the mold compound (left) and representation of the sublifetime models for two different medium temperatures (right)

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