REUTLINGEN, GERMANY: Freescale Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, Bosch (Division Automotive Electronics), NXP Semiconductors and STMicroelectronics have formed a consortium to jointly investigate and standardize the acceptance of alternatives for high-lead solder for attaching die to semiconductor packages during manufacturing. The five company consortium is known as the DA5 (Die Attach 5).
Implementation and availability
For environmental reasons, the semiconductor industry is making every effort to eliminate high-lead solder, where feasible. However, there is no single identified lead-free solution for all applications and there is no expectation of a substitute for a high-lead solder die attach before 2014.
Any solution will require substitute material development and evaluation, internal semiconductor process and product qualification, and semiconductor production conversion to guarantee product reliability.
By jointly developing and qualifying an alternative, the DA5 consortium aims to reduce the qualification time needed by its customers and provide lead-free and environmentally friendly solutions as quickly as possible.
The consortium approach
A previous joint effort known as the E4 successfully implemented more environmentally friendly materials for semiconductor packages. Lead-free high melting temperature die attach was not in the scope of the E4 effort since this solder material was exempted from the 2006 EU RoHS Directive.
The announced DA5 consortium aims to reinitiate the earlier E4 cooperation and use the proven formula for success to lead the industry into the next phase of the lead-free semiconductor evolution. In this way the DA5 companies are also actively supporting the demands of the European Union towards reduced lead in electronics.
Lead in semiconductor products
Semiconductor products use high-lead containing solder for a die attach material in power devices, in diodes and transistors, for clip bonding of discrete devices and for surface mount and insertion components. Many of these devices have an essential safety purpose in automotive applications. The unique properties, such as the high melting point and thermal conductivity of these high-lead alloys, are necessary for the level of reliability required for these products.
Currently, there is no proven alternative for these high-lead die attach solders. Therefore, the DA5 consortium companies are soliciting input from die attach material suppliers to jointly evaluate and develop possible alternatives. This approach is expected to speed implementation and customer acceptance of the environmentally friendly materials.