Cu needs a higher level of ultrasound combined with bonding force to be bonded to the Al pad properly, not just because Cu is harder than Au, but it is also harder to initiate intermetallic compounds (IMC) formation during bonding. This increases the chances of damaging the metal/low k stack under the bondpad. This paper presents a fundamental study of IMC as well as one example of a failure mode of Cu/Al bonded devices, all based on detailed analysis using scanning electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectrometers, and transmission electron microscopy. It presents a case study showing a corrosion mechanism of Cu/Al ballbond after 168hr UHAST stress. It is observed that all Cu9Al4 was consumed, while very little copper aluminide remained after 168 hours of UHAST stressing.

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