Gold wire bonding has been widely used as first-level interconnect in semiconductor packaging. The increase in the gold price has motivated the industry search for alternative to the gold wire used in wire bonding and the transition to copper wire bonding technology. Potential advantages of transition to Cu-Al wire bond system includes low cost of copper wire, lower thermal resistivity, lower electrical resistivity, higher deformation strength, damage during ultrasonic squeeze, and stability compared to gold wire. However, the transition to the copper wire brings along some trade-offs including poor corrosion resistance, narrow process window, higher hardness, and potential for cratering. Formation of excessive Cu-Al intermetallics may increase electrical resistance and reduce the mechanical bonding strength. Current state-of-art for studying the Cu-Al system focuses on accumulation of statistically significant number of failures under accelerated testing. In this paper, a new approach has been developed to identify the occurrence of impending apparently-random defect fall-outs and pre-mature failures observed in the Cu-Al wirebond system. The use of intermetallic thickness, composition and corrosion as a leading indicator of failure for assessment of remaining useful life for Cu-al wirebond interconnects has been studied under exposure to high temperature and temperature-humidity. Damage in wire bonds has been studied using x-ray Micro-CT. Microstructure evolution was studied under isothermal aging conditions of 150°C, 175°C, and 200°C till failure. Activation energy was calculated using growth rate of intermetallic at different temperatures. Effect of temperature and humidity on Cu-Al wirebond system was studied using Parr Bomb technique at different elevated temperature and humidity conditions (110°C/ 100%RH, 120°C/ 100%RH, 130°C/ 100%RH) and failure mechanism was developed. The present methodology uses evolution of the IMC thickness, composition in conjunction with the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm to identify accrued damage in wire bond subjected to thermal aging. The proposed method can be used for quick assessment of Cu-Al parts to ensure manufactured part consistency through sampling.

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