Inseto

Month: March 2021

Probe Station – High Frequency Device Test

19th March 2021

SCOPE: How to configure a wafer probe station for testing high frequency (HF) applications.

Probe stations can be utilised to test and characterise devices for a wide range of applications. One such application of interest is the testing of high frequency (HF) devices. High frequency probing applications are also commonly referred to as radio frequency (RF), or microwave (MW) depending on the application and the frequency ranges to be tested. The frequency bandings typically used when discussing HF probing are shown in the table below.

These are the bandings defined by the IEEE but some applications and industries use different nomenclature and different frequency groupings. For instance the frequency range 3 – 30 GHz can be referred to as Super High Frequency (SHF) and the range 30 – 300 GHz as Extremely High Frequency (EHF). This EHF range is sometimes also referred to as the millimetre range (mm). When working above 300 GHz the application is then termed Terahertz and is beyond the scope of what we will discuss here.

High Frequency Wafer Probe Test - Probe Arm Configuration
High Frequency Wafer Probe Test – Probe Arm Configuration
IEEEWavelengthFrequency Range (GHz)Explanation and notes
MF1km - 100m0.0003 - 0.003Medium Frequency
HF100m - 10m0.003 - 0.03High Frequency
VHF10m - 1m0.03 - 0.3Very High Frequency
UHF1m - 30cm0.3 - 1Ultra High Frequency
L band30cm - 15cm1 - 2Long wave
S band15cm - 7.5cm2 - 4Short wave
C band7.5cm - 3.75cm4 - 8Compromise between S and X
X band3.75cm - 2.5cm8 - 12X for crosshairs, used in WW2 for fire control
Ku band2.5cm - 1.67cm12 - 18Kurz-under
K band1.67cm - 1.11cm18 - 27Kurz (German for short)
Ka band1.11cm - 7.5mm27 - 40Kurz-above
V band7.5mm - 4mm40 - 75-
W band4mm - 2.73mm75 - 110As W follows V in the alphabet
mm2.73mm - 1mm110 - 300Millimetre, sometimes called the G band

In order to work with any of the frequency bands listed above the probe station should not require many changes in how it is manufactured. In reality the basic components included will not be that different from a standard probe system, but some of the specifics will need to be customised to your application requirements as is explained below.

High quality HF and RF probing solutions look to minimise sources of movement, drift and noise, although this is true of most probing applications. To achieve this, the probe station requires the mechanics and bases used in the system to be vibration free. The Probe System for Life (PS4L) from SemiProbe allows the easy integration of rigid high quality components to meet this requirement.

The simplest addition to a bench-top probe station is to include a vibration isolation table, this helps to remove interference from the surrounding environment. Further reduction in vibration can be achieved by using a HF suitable platen. The platen is used to hold the manipulators, tuners and other extension modules in a probe system and in HF probing applications these are typically larger and made of steel or are steel plated. In most systems these will have tapped mounting holes to allow the manipulators to be bolted into place or will allow magnetic fixing of the manipulators.

For an RF system, the manipulators need to be able provide the highest levels of precision, rigidity and stability. This high level of stability is achieved by using a firm base that can either be bolted or magnetically fixed to the platen. The manipulators must also be able to accommodate the increased weight of the additional cables, probes and tuners required for the RF probing.

The probes on the HF probe system can be set up in a variety of configurations for applying the signal to your DUT. What you will need depends on the specifics and the requirements of your application. The most common configuration is ground-signal-ground (GSG) but others such as ground-signal (GS) and signal-ground (SG) are often used as are
GSSG and GSGS (ground-signal-signal-ground and ground-signal-ground-signal). Diagrams of these are shown in the image below:

HF - high Frequency Probe Tip Configurations
HF – high Frequency Probe Tip Configurations

Beyond using individual probes to characterise your device, RF probe cards are also available from a variety of suppliers and can be easily incorporated into the probe system. Often these will include calibration options that can be integrated into the RF system.

The wafer chucks used to hold the device under test (DUT) will have vacuum control to allow the substrate to be securely held. In addition these HF chucks have the ability to hold two calibration substrates or a calibration substrate and a contact substrate.

A further consideration to make when configuring an RF or microwave probe station is to ensure that the probe cables that you use are suitable for the frequency range you need to work with. As with the probes and probe cards a number of manufacturers are available and all can be incorporated into a SemiProbe PS4L.

Finally, when planning your RF probing setup it is important to consider the instrumentation you will be using to run your test protocol. Being able to interface with these is crucial to producing a RF probe system otherwise no RF probing will be possible. Typically the instrumentation and analysers are purchased separately from the probe station but compatibility between the two is essential.

Probing at high frequencies will always be more challenging than a DC probing application but provided the right equipment and instrumentation has been specified during the design and development process then there is no reason that accurate measurements cannot be achieved. The PS4L from SemiProbe is an ideal choice of platform when choosing an RF probe station due to its innate flexibility and continuous upgrade path. The PS4L can grow and shift with your probing requirements as they evolve without needing to purchase a whole new system.

For more information on SemiProbe Probe Stations – Wafer Probing Equipment, please click HERE.

Author

Date

Version

Author

Chris Valentine

Date

22 March 2021

Version

IKB081 Rev. 1

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Wafer Bonding Methods

19th March 2021

This document provides an overview of the different wafer bonding methods used in semiconductor manufacturing (IKB-078).

Wafer bonding methods refers to the attachment of two or more substrates or wafers to one another through a range of physical and chemical processes. Wafer bonding is used in a variety of technologies such as MEMS device fabrication, where sensor components are encapsulated within the application.

Other areas of application are in three-dimensional integration, advanced packaging technologies and CIS manufacturing. Within wafer bonding there are two main groupings, temporary bonding and permanent bonding, both of which play a key part in the technologies that facilitate three-dimensional integration.

Wafer Bonding with a SUSS XB8 Bonder
Wafer Bonding using a SUSS XB8 Wafer Bonder

The main techniques used in wafer bonding are:

  • Adhesive
  • Anodic
  • Eutectic
  • Fusion
  • Glass Frit
  • Metal Diffusion
  • Hybrid
  • Solid liquid inter-diffusion (SLID)

Adhesive wafer bonding

Adhesive bonding utilises a range of polymers and adhesives to attach the wafers to one another. These polymers include epoxies, dry films, BCB, polyimides and UV curable compounds. Adhesive bonding is widely utilised throughout the microelectronic and MEMS manufacture industry as it is a simple robust and often low cost solution. A major advantage for their use is the comparatively low temperature for protecting sensitive components allowing compatibility with standard integrated circuit materials and processes.

Other advantages include the ability to join different types and materials of substrate together and insensitivity to surface topography. Additionally adhesive bonding can be used for both permanent and temporary wafer bonding. In an adhesive bond it is the polymer adhesive that bears the force needed to hold the two surfaces together and also distributes this force evenly across the substrate surfaces to avoid localised any stresses across the join.

Anodic wafer bonding

Anodic bonding involves encapsulating components on a wafer within a glass layer. Anodic bonding allows the glass wafer to be bonded to the surface of a silicon wafer or other metal substrate without introducing an additional intermediate layer.  Anodic bonding, sometimes referred to as field assisted bonding or electrostatic sealing, uses an external electric field to form the bond at the silicon/glass interface.

The anodic bond can be extended to three layers (glass-silicon-glass) through a process called triple-stack bonding. Here the layers are simultaneously bonded, enhancing both functionality and yield. To achieve a high quality anodic bond it is important to have clean planar wafer surfaces with a low surface roughness (<10 nm). Bond strength and quality can be further increased through the use of glass materials with a high number of alkali ions present such as borosilicate glass.

Eutectic wafer bonding

Eutectic wafer bonding takes advantage of the special properties of eutectic metals. Similar to soldering alloys, eutectic metals melt at low temperatures, below the melting point of the substrates to be boned. This property of eutectic metals allows planar surfaces to be achieved at the bonded interface.

The most established eutectic bond system is between silicon and gold and is a well-established process for producing hermetic seals at low temperatures.  In order to control reflow of the eutectic material, eutectic bonding requires precise dosing of the bonding force and even temperature distribution across the bonded stack. This helps to reduce any residual stresses within the bond that can lead to failure after excessive thermal cycling.

Fusion wafer bonding

Fusion bonding refers to spontaneous adhesion of two planar substrates without the addition of any intermediate layer. This is also referred to as direct bonding and is a long established technique in the MEMS and semiconductor industry. There are a number of approaches to use fusion bonding to bond together silicon wafers; the common two methods are hydrophobic processing and hydrophilic processing.  

In both cases, plasma pre-treatment of the surfaces significantly lowers the thermal requirements of the bond. This allows for some substrates to be bonded at room temperature. The plasma treatment generates an extremely clean that is free from any organic contamination. In hydrophilic bonding the prepared substrates are then covered with a thin layer of water and placed into contact. The bonding then takes place between the chemisorbed water. This bonding takes place at low temperatures or at room temperature. The bonded wafer stack is then annealed at elevated temperatures up to 1100°C.

In hydrophobic bonding the plasma pre-treated surface is given a coating to promote the formation of Si-F bonds It is then the van-der-Waals forces between the silicon, hydrogen and fluorine atoms present. As with hydrophilic bonding the wafer stack must be annealed at higher temperatures to complete the bond. Lower temperature bonding is possible for both processes but requires more complex pre-processing steps to ensure strong and uniform bond forms.

Glass frit wafer bonding

Glass frit bonding, also known as glass soldering or seal glass bonding, is a bonding technique which uses an intermediate glass layer. A standard process involves screen-printing or spin-coating on glass frit layers onto the bonding surfaces. The two substrates are then brought into contact and heated until the glass frit transforms from a glassy paste into a glass layer. With an external pressure applied the glass fuses and bonds the desired substrates together. On cooling, a mechanically stable bond results. A variety of glass frits have been developed to lower the bonding temperature and also match the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the substrate materials.

Metal diffusion wafer bonding

Metal diffusion bonding, sometimes referred to as thermo-compression bonding, uses two metals such as, Cu-Cu, Al-Al, Au-Au, to bond the substrates together. The metal diffusion bond is achieved by bringing the two metals into atomic contact and applying heat and force simultaneously. The bond  is stuck together through the diffusion of metal ions from one substrate to the other. The use of metal diffusion allows two wafers to be bonded both mechanically and electrically in a single step. The technique is required for bonding in 3D applications such as 3D stacking

Hybrid wafer bonding

Hybrid bonding is a bonding process that combines fusion bonding and metal diffusion bonding into a single process. The technique is based on a thermo-compression bond of two metallic layers with an integrated fusion bond.

In this process, a substrate with metal pads such as copper contacts and a dielectric layer can be bonded in a single process. First the dielectric is bonded at low temperatures using fusion or direct bonding process. When this is annealed at higher temperatures a metal diffusion bond occurs.  The main application of the hybrid bond process is in advanced three-dimensional device stacking applications as well as CMOS image sensors.     

SLID

SLID bonding (solid-liquid inter-diffusion) is based on the diffusion and mixture of different metals and ceramics. SLID bonding is also known as transient liquid phase diffusion bonding (TLPDB) and is used in a number of industries from microelectronics to the aerospace industry.

The underlying principle of SLID bonding is that at the interface between the two substrates to be bonded the materials diffuse across the boundary and change the composition of the interface locally. This change occurs in such a way that the interface can melt before the bulk of the bond material. The liquid interface then inter-diffuses resulting in a shift of the melting temperature and a solidification of the alloy at the bonding interface.  The melting temperature of the alloy after bonding is very much higher than the bonding temperature and so solid bond is formed joining the two substrates together. This technique has seen much use in high temperature applications where a stable and uniform bond is required.

For further information on our range of Wafer Bonding Equipment, please click HERE

For further information on our range of Semiconductor Wafers & Substrates, please click HERE

Author

Date

Version

Author

Chris Valentine

Date

19 March 2021

Version

IKB078 Rev. 1

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SVHC Free Adhesive – First Distributor in UK & Ireland to offer SVHC Free Encapsulation Adhesives for High Reliability Electronics Assembly Applications

8th March 2021

Inseto has written a free guide – ‘Likely Changes to Chip Encapsulation Adhesives’ – on this important topic.

SVHC Free Encapsulation Adhesive
SVHC-free DELO MONOPOX GE6585 and GE6525 are both ideal for chip encapsulation techniques such as Dam & Fill, as shown respectively in the above images.

Andover, United Kingdom – Inseto is the first distributor serving the UK and Ireland to supply chip encapsulation adhesives for high reliability applications that are free of substances of very high concern (SVHC). Easy and trustworthy access to SVHC-free an adhesive made in the EU will become essential if, or more likely when, industry regulations come into force banning the manufacture of such products.

As DELO’s exclusive distributor in the UK & Ireland, Inseto can supply DELO MONOPOX GE6585 and GE6525, which are primarily used for Dam & Fill chip encapsulation, and DELO DUALBOND GE7065, which is mainly used for Glob Top chip encapsulation. All three cure to from rigid protective coatings and can be used for encapsulating not only semiconductor die but also sensors, which is a common practice in the automotive, aerospace and harsh environment industrial sectors, for example.

“Whilst not all chip encapsulation adhesives contain SVHCs, those that are needed to ensure high reliability do,” comments Eamonn Redmond, Sales Manager of Inseto. “And the European Chemical Association is constantly reviewing and working towards banning the use of SVHCs. Whilst it’s not certain when adhesives containing SVHCs will be banned they almost certainly will be. In addition, these new adhesives offer significant processing and performance upgrades over their SVHC-containing counterparts.”

DELO MONOPOX SVHC-free Globtop and Dam and Fill Adhesives
DELO MONOPOX GE6585, DELO MONOPOX GE6525 and DELO DUALBOND GE7065, available in the UK and Ireland through Inseto, are believed to be the first SVHC-free adhesives on the market for applications where high reliability is a necessity.

DELO MONOPOX GE6585, DELO MONOPOX GE6525 and DELO DUALBOND GE7065 are believed to be the first types of SVHC free adhesive on the market for applications where high reliability is a necessity. They are offered as alternatives to existing DELO adhesives currently used for Dam & Fill and Glob Top chip encapsulation in applications where high reliability is important.

All three new adhesives have high shear strengths, low coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE), high glass transition temperatures (Tg), extended operating temperature ranges and an extremely high resistance to chemicals.

GE6585 and GE6525 are one-part heat-cured black epoxies. Compared to their SHVC-containing counterparts, the CTE has been nearly halved. However, the new adhesives retain the extremely high Tg of the existing adhesives (>170oC), making them ideal for high reliability applications; ensuring minimal risk of board warpage during assembly.

GE7065 is also a one-part heat-cured black epoxy with a low CTE and high Tg. It also has the added advantage of being light-fixable (optional) immediately after dispensing. In addition, the filler particle size is significantly reduced (to around 7μm), allowing the adhesive to flow more easily between very fine-pitch wire bonds.

All three new adhesives boast significantly shorter curing times than their SVHC-containing counterparts – 30 minutes at 100oC for GE6585 and GE6525, and 60 minutes at 130oC for GE7065 – and can be ordered now through Inseto.

MAIN ENDS

For further information on our full adhesives, please click HERE or to visit the DELO website, click HERE

What Is A Wafer Bonder?

4th March 2021

This document overviews the wafer bonder and its use in semiconductor device fabrication (IKB-080).

What is a wafer bonder?

A wafer bonder is a precision machine tool used in the fabrication of micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) and other similar technologies. A wafer bonder is used to package together two or more substrates on the wafer-level.

Wafer bonders are used on both R&D and industrial scales when the mechanically stable joining, or bonding, together of two substrates is required. This bonding process can either be temporary or permanent, and a number of methods and technologies have been developed depending on the substrates involved and the applications required. For more information on the commonly used bonding methods, see Inseto’s knowledge base document Wafer bonding methods.

A wafer bonder works by controllably bringing together the desired substrates and applying some combination of force/pressure, heat or current as required by the bonding method. In some cases, a wafer bonder is required to keep high levels of alignment between the two substrates that are being bonded. As such, the wafer bonder is a complex system requiring high levels of precision and control.

The wafer bonder is required to control the surrounding conditions of the bonding environment to ensure the highest quality of bond can be achieved. The critical environmental factors to control are:

  • Bond Temperature
  • Ambient Pressure
  • Applied Force

To ensure the tightest control over all of these factors, the leading wafer bonders utilise a dedicated bond chamber within which the bonding process takes place.

Bond Chamber
The bond chamber is a sealed region within the wafer bonder that can be evacuated to the user specified pressure and heated or cooled to the required bond temperature. A high quality bonder will exhibit high temperature uniformity and repeatability and precise control over the pressure within the chamber.

The sealed bond chamber, sometimes referred to as the process chamber, should be contamination free to further enhance the quality of the bond interface. The design of the bond chamber is specific to the manufacturer but all good wafer bonders are designed such that the chamber is minimally exposed to the surrounding external environment. This is controlled by the wafer or substrate loading mechanism.

Loading Mechanism
The loading mechanism is responsible for the transfer of the substrates into the bond chamber. As such, the design of this transport fixture is crucial to maintaining the cleanliness of the chamber and thus the quality of the final bond. A loading mechanism, which reduces the opening of the chamber and minimises the number of parts inserted in the chamber, will keep the introduction of contaminants to a minimum.

A further requirement of the loading mechanism is that if the wafers are aligned relative to one another, the precision of this alignment is not lost in the transport into the chamber or in the bonding process. This brings us to the third component required for a quality wafer bonding solution, the alignment of the wafers.

Alignment
The alignment of the two wafers to one another and how this alignment is maintained is crucial to many sectors where wafer bonding is required such as MEMs. There are several methods employed to align the wafers, in some systems the alignment is carried out in-situ (within the wafer bonder), in others, the alignment is carried out in a complementary tool, such as a mask aligner or bond aligner. If processed in a mask aligner, the now aligned wafers, commonly referred to as a stack, must be transferred to the wafer bonder by some form of fixture or carrier that preserves this alignment.

Both approaches, either within the wafer bonder or in an external aligner, have their advantages and disadvantages. However aligning outside the wafer bonder can allow facilities to make use of previous capital investment whilst also reducing the complexity required of the wafer bonder. Furthermore, this separation of alignment and bonding can also lead to an increased efficiency of operator time. As the alignment step is usually a much shorter process than the bond but requires more input from the operator, a number of wafer stacks could be aligned at one time and then all transferred to the bonder. The wafer bonder will then process without any further input from the operator freeing them to complete other tasks.

Bond Plates
The final component to be discussed when considering what constitutes a high quality wafer bonder are the plates that transfer the force to the wafers as they are bonded. In some systems these plates can be referred to as wafer chucks. The plates are located within the bond chamber and are crucial to ensuring a uniform bond across the whole wafer.

As shown in the diagram below, the bond plates both transfer the force to the wafers but are commonly used to heat the bonded stack, if heat is required for the bond method used. A highly repeatable application of force to initiate the bond across the whole area to be bonded is necessary for all applications. The plates must have high levels of planarity and flatness and depending on the design of the bonder, the force can be applied either through the top, bottom or via both sets of plates.

For further information on our range of Wafer Bonders, please click HERE

Author

Date

Version

Author

Chris Valentine

Date

04 March 2021

Version

IKB080 Rev. 1

Download

Likely Changes To Encapsulation Adhesives

2nd March 2021

How might the likely banning of encapsulation adhesives containing a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) affect your business? The purpose of this article is to convey our understanding of how the likely ban of these SVHCs might affect your business if you are using chip encapsulation adhesives.

While SVHC regulations will apply to a range of substances that are used in many industries we can only comment on adhesives, and particularly those used for chip encapsulation and similar applications (see figure 1) within the electronics industry.

Also, whilst in the three tables below we list adhesives manufactured by DELO Industrial Adhesives – for which we are the exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland – the regulations discussed apply to all adhesive manufacturers based in the European Union (EU).

Rest assured, we will endeavour to keep this fact sheet current through data revisions as more becomes known about the emerging regulations. As always though, if you have any questions please contact us on +44 (0)1264 334505 and ask to speak to someone in our Adhesive Division. Alternatively email us at enquiries@inseto.co.uk with the word SVHC in the subject field.

Dam and Fill Encapsulation Adhesives
Figure 1 – Most adhesives used for chip encapsulation, such as the above ‘Dam and Fill’ process, currently contain small traces of chemicals considered SVHCs. Image courtesy of DELO.

The Regulations

An SVHC can be a chemical element (lead, for example) but more commonly a compound (cadmium fluoride, for example) that presents a risk to health or the environment.

All SVHCs are regulated under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of CHemicals (REACH), an EU regulation that came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaced a number of European directives and regulations with a single system.

One of REACH’s goals is to make “…the people who place chemicals on the market (manufacturers and importers) responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use.”

Another aim is to allow the free movement of substances in the EU.

REACH places a ‘burden of proof’ on companies. To comply with the regulation, they must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU.

Under REACH, companies have to demonstrate to the European CHemicals Agency (ECHA) how the substance can be safely used, and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users.

ECHA’s website (specifically, this page https://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach/understanding-reach) says: “In general, under REACH you may have one of these roles:

  • Manufacturer: If you make chemicals, either to use yourself or to supply to other people (even if it is for export), then you will probably have some important responsibilities under REACH.
  • Importer: If you buy anything from outside the EU/EEA, you are likely to have some responsibilities under REACH. It may be individual chemicals, mixtures for onwards sale or finished products, like clothes, furniture or plastic goods.
  • Downstream users: Most companies use chemicals, sometimes even without realising it, therefore you need to check your obligations if you handle any chemicals in your industrial or professional activity. You might have some responsibilities under REACH.”

Which substances?

The ECHA maintains and publishes a ‘candidate’ list of SVHCs which, for each substance, provides a reason for inclusion on the list and the decision taken by ECHA. The list can be viewed here https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-table

The following tables reflect the SVHC in question, present in three DELO products that Inseto supplies:

Encapsulation Adhesives with SVHC and new alternative versions without.
Encapsulation Adhesive with SVHC and new alternative version without.
Encapsulation Adhesives containing SVHC and new alternative version without SVHC.

As reflected in the above tables, the recommended alternatives (i.e., SVHC-free) have many advantages over their SVHC-containing counterparts.

DELO MONOPOX Chip Encapsulation Adhesives
DELO MONOPOX GE6585, DELO MONOPOX GE6525 and
DELO DUALBOND GE7065 are SVHC-free and available now.
Photo courtesy of DELO.

Will defence companies be exempt (allowed to use SVHCs)?
No. Unlike the electronics industry’s switch to lead-free solder, for example, the likely ban of SVHCs would apply to the manufacturers – i.e., “you [the manufacturer] must no longer make and supply…” – rather than users being told they cannot use the substances. In essence, the SVHC-containing adhesive made in the EU would no longer be available for anyone to use.

Now that the UK has left the EU, how will that affect things?
Based in the EU, DELO will have to follow EU legislation. Anyone – whether based inside or outside the EU – wanting to buy and use an adhesive that contains an SVHC will therefore be affected if EU-based manufacturers are instructed to cease production of SVHC-containing adhesives.

Our advice
Do not panic. ECHA typically gives good notice (about 18 months) with respect to new legislations coming into force.

We have provided this Knowledge Base fact sheet to keep you advised on the likely changes regarding the use of SVHC-containing adhesives.

Also, we wanted to inform you that SVHC-free alternatives are already available. By listing them above, you can assess their suitability for your applications.

END.

DELO and DUALBOND are registered trademarks of DELO Industrial Adhesives.

Author

Date

Version

Author

Eamonn Redmond

Date

9 February 2021

Version

IKB079 Rev. 1

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Asterion Wedge Bonder Meets CIL’s Advanced Technology Group’s Requirements for Multiple Electric Vehicle Projects

2nd March 2021

Andover, United Kingdom Inseto, a leading technical distributor of equipment and materials, has supplied Custom Interconnect Limited (CIL) with a Kulicke & Soffa Asterion large diameter wire / ribbon wedge bonder for use in the production of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power modules and the assembly of battery packs.

Kulicke & Soffa Asterion Wedge Bonder
Kulicke & Soffa Asterion Wedge Bonder Installed at Custom Interconnect’s (CIL) new BEV Facility

The Asterion is to play a crucial role in two major electric vehicle (EV) projects in which CIL is extensively involved. In the first, CIL is engaged with BMW on APC15@FutureBEV to maximise potential for future BEV systems. The project is one of 10 projects by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) in its latest round of Government and industry funding for low-carbon emissions research.

In the second case, CIL is the project lead on GaNSiC – a project that stems from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’ challenge and brings together CIL and Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (CSA Catapult). It is set to develop novel ways of applying Silver Sinter pastes to WBG semiconductors, such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices, to optimise their thermal coupling and solve complex power module assembly challenges.

John Boston, Managing Director of CIL, comments: “Because of the high currents EV power modules handle, both projects require the placement of heavy gauge wire or ribbon, of between 150 and 600microns diameter or width compared to fine-wire bonding, which tends to be about 25microns.”

Boston goes on to say that SiC-based power module designs are aiming to switch up to 800VDC and handle up to 600A. He adds: “You need heavy gauge, but heavy gauge wire bonding of wide bandgap materials is a relatively new technology. More than ever before, there’s a need for collaboration and trust within the industry. Also, with keeping costs low such an imperative in the automotive sector, the use of advanced manufacturing tools likely to produce the best results is essential, particularly when some vehicle manufacturers are demanding zero defects and stipulating that reworks are not allowed.

CIL is an electronic solutions provider. It has the largest independent ‘chip and wire’ facility in the UK and its micro-electronics packaging facility is regarded as being at the forefront of the EV power revolution.

Boston concludes: “In addition to APC15@FutureBEV and GaNSiC, we’re the manufacturing partner on many other EV projects, plus we have many customers in the aerospace sector – active under initiatives like the More Electric Aircraft and the All-Electric Aircraft. “

The K&S Asterion is located in CIL’s BEV facility, and joins an automatic die bonder and high pressure Silver Sinter press (both of which are for the packaging of WBG materials) and a scanning acoustic microscope, used to detect voids. The Asterion will also be used in the manufacture of EV batteries, specifically for bonding between cells and busbars/plates.

Inseto is exclusive distributor for Kulicke and Soffa’s range of wire bonding and die bonding equipment & materials in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions.

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About CIL

Established in 1986 and ISO9001:2015, ISO13485:2016 (Medical) and AS9100D (Aerospace) certification, CIL is also on the path to ISO/TS 16949:2009 (Automotive) certification. CIL has transitioned from a conventional EMS company into an Electronic Solutions Provider and currently manufactures some of the most complex mission critical electronic assemblies in the UK. A combination of 6 SMT lines, 3D AOI, Flying probe test and laser depanelling enables it to manufacture complex SMT PCBA. In addition, CIL also has one of the largest independent die and wirebond facilities in the UK. Three Automatic die bonders, and six Automatic wire bonders and various encapsulation systems are available. It is now entering a WBG power module manufacturing era to support both UK and EU based companies deploy SiC and GaN based assemblies.

For further information please visit www.cil-uk.co.uk

END

Download a PDF copy of this news release HERE.