On-chip piezoresistive stress sensors represent a unique approach for characterizing stresses in silicon die embedded within complicated packaging architectures. In this work, we have used test chips containing such sensors to measure the stresses induced in microprocessor die after various steps of the assembly process, as well as to continuously characterize the in-situ die surface stress during thermal cycling and power cycling. The utilized (111) silicon sensor rosettes were able to measure the complete three-dimensional stress state (all 6 stress components) at each sensor site being monitored by the data acquisition hardware. The test chips had dimensions of 20 × 20 mm, and 3600 lead free solder interconnects (full area array) were used to connect the chips to high CTE ceramic chip carriers. Before packaging, the sensor resistances were measured by directly probing the test chip wafers. The chips were then diced, reflowed to the ceramic substrate, and then underfilled and cured. Finally, a metallic lid was attached to complete the ceramic LGA package. After every packaging step (solder reflow, underfill dispense and cure, lid attachment and adhesive cure), the sensor resistances were re-measured, so that the die stresses induced by each assembly operation could be characterized. The build-up of the die stresses was found to be monotonically increasing, and the relative severity of each assembly step was judged and compared. Such an approach also allows for various material sets (solders, underfills, TIM materials, lid metals, and lid adhesives) to be analyzed and rated for their contribution to the die stress level. After first level packaging of the chips on the ceramic chip carriers, initial experiments have been performed to analyze the effects of thermal cycling and power cycling on the die stresses. Thermal cycling of selected parts was performed from 0 to 100 C (40 minute cycle, 10 minute ramps and dwells). Power cycling of selected parts was performed by exciting the on-chip heaters on the test chips with power levels typical of microprocessor die. During the thermal/power cycling, sensor resistances at critical locations on the die device surface (e.g. die center and die corners) were recorded continuously. From the resistance data, the stresses at each site were calculated and plotted versus time. The experimental observations show some cycle-to-cycle evolution in the stress magnitudes due to material aging effects, stress relaxation and creep phenomena, and development of interfacial damage. The observed stress variations as a function of temperature cycling duration are currently being correlated with the delaminations occurring at the interfaces between the die and underfill and the die and lid adhesive. In addition, finite element models of the packages are being developed and correlated with the data.

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