Bond pad metal corrosion was observed during assembly process characterization of a 0.13um Cu microprocessor device. The bond pad consisted of 12kÅ of Al-0.5%Cu atop 9kÅ of Cu, separated by a thin Ta diffusion barrier. The corrosion was first noted after the wafer dicing process. Analysis of the pad surface revealed pitting-type corrosion, consistent with published reports of classic galvanic cell reactions between Al2Cu (theta phase) particles and the surrounding Al pad metal. Analysis of the bond pads on samelot wafers which had not been diced showed higher-thanexpected incidence of hillock and pit hole defects on the Al surface. Statistically designed experiments were formulated to investigate the possibility that the observed pre-saw pad metal defects act as nucleation sites for galvanic corrosion during the sawing process. Analyses of the experimental samples were conducted using optical and scanning electron microscopy, along with focused ion beam deprocessing and energy dispersive X-ray. This paper explores the relationship between the presence of these pre-existing defects and the propensity for the bond pads to corrode during the dicing process, and reviews the conditions under which pit hole defects are formed during the final stages of the Cu-metallized wafer fabrication process. Indications are that strict control of wafer fab backend processes can reduce or eliminate the incidence of such defects, resulting in elimination of bond pad corrosion in the wafer dicing process.

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