The challenge presented by advanced package development in the past five years has further accentuated the constant need for package quality and reliability monitoring through extensive laboratory testing and evaluation. As pin counts and chip geometries have continued to increase, there has been additional pressure from the military and commercial sectors to improve interconnect designs for packaged chips, including chips directly attached to the printed wiring board (PWB). One of the options employed has been tape automated bonding (TAB). However, this assembly technique also presents new standardisation, qualification and reliability problems. Therefore, at Rome Air Development Center (RADC), there is regular assessment (through in‐house failure analysis studies) of parts destined for military and space systems. In addition, Department of Defense (DoD) high tech development programmes, such as very high speed integrated circuits (VHSIC), have utilised all present screening methods for package evaluation, and have addressed the need for development of more definitive non‐destructive tests. To answer this need, two RADC contractual efforts were awarded on laser thermal and ultrasonic inspection techniques. Through these package evaluations, a number of potential reliability problems are identified and the results provided to the specific contractors for corrective action implementation. Typical problems uncovered are lid material and pin corrosion, damage to external components and adhesion problems between copper leads and polyimide supports, hermeticity failures, high moisture content in sealed packages and particle impact noise detection (PIND) test failures (internal particles). Further tests uncover bond strength failures, bond placement irregularities, voids in die attach material (potential heat dissipation problems), and die surface defects such as scratches and cracks. This presentation will review the specific package level physical test methods that are employed as a means of evaluating reliable package performance. Many of the tests, especially the environmental tests—e.g., salt atmosphere and moisture resistance—provide accelerated forms of anticipated conditions and are therefore applied as destructive tests to assess package quality and reliability in field use. In addition to a manufacturer's compliance with designated qualification procedures, the key to package quality lies in utilising good materials and well‐controlled assembly techniques. This practice, along with effective package screen tests, will ensure reliable operation of very large scale integration (VLSI) devices in severe military and commercial environment applications.
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