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3.

Wire Bonding
Wire bonding is a method that used in Integrated Circuit (IC) bonding process. It is the
method of making interconnections between an integrated circuit (IC) or other
semiconductor device and its packaging during semiconductor device fabrication. Wire
bonding can be used to connect an IC to other electronics or to connect from one PCB to
another. Wire bonding is generally considered the most cost-effective and flexible
interconnect technology, and is used to assemble the vast majority of semiconductor
packages.
3.1 Type of wire
Different types of wires are used for the wire bond process: gold (Au), aluminum
(Al) and copper (Cu). Gold and aluminum are both highly conductive and ductile
enough to withstand deformation during the bonding process while remaining
strong and reliable.
a. Copper Wire
Copper is used for fine wire ball bonding in sizes up to 0.003 inch (75
micrometer). Bonding using copper is harder than using gold and
aluminum. The formation of oxides is inherent with this material, so
storage and shelf life are issues that must be considered. Special packaging
is required in order to protect copper wire and achieve a longer shelf life.
Palladium coated copper wire is a common alternative which has shown
significant resistance to corrosion, albeit at a higher hardness than pure
copper and a greater price, though still less than gold. During the
fabrication of wire bonds, copper wire, as well as its plated varieties, must
be worked in the presence of forming gas [95% nitrogen and 5%
hydrogen] or a similar anoxic gas in order to prevent corrosion.
b. Gold Wire
The thermosonic wire bonder process requires heat, ultrasonic power and
force. Gold ball and aluminum on the chip pad are forced together under
heat while ultrasonic power is applied. The result is an intermetallic
connection (weld). The typical bond temperature for copper lead framebased devices is approximately 180 to 250C. Organic substrates (ball grid
arrays) require low temperatures of approximately 100 to 150C. Higher
ultrasonic power at the same frequency compensates for lower bond
temperatures to ensure a solid and high shear value (force required to shift
away the bonded ball from the aluminum pad). The most commonly used
gold wire in production today is 25 microns (1 mil).
c. Aluminum Wire

Compared with gold wire bonding, the bonding speed with aluminum wire
bonding is slower but has the advantage that the low-cost final surfaces of
the bond pads make the final product more affordable. Aluminum wire
bonding is pure friction welding. Two pure metals are pressed together
using a specific amount of pressure and are friction welded with ultrasonic
oscillation that is generated by a transducer.
3.2 Type of bonding
3.2.1

Ball Bonding
Ball bonding is the process in which pads are connected onto a die and
lead frame (or substrate) using very fine diameter wire. Ball bonding
usually restricted to gold and copper wire and usually requires heat. The
basic steps of ball bonding include the formation of: the first bond
(normally on the chip), the wire loop, and the second bond (normally on
the substrate). The wire-bonding cycle is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Ball Bonding Process


The second bond consists of a stitch bond that bonds the opposite end of
the wire and a tail bond (Step 7). The tail bond is needed to form a wire
tail for the next ball formation. After the bonding tool rises to pay out the
wire tail, the tail is broken off and the bonding tool rises up to the ball
formation height (Steps 8, 9, and 10). The ball formation process is

achieved by ionization of the air gap in a process called electronic flameoff (EFO). The resulting ball is known as a free air ball (FAB).
3.2.2

Wedge Bonding
Wedge bonding is a kind of wire bonding which relies on the application
of ultrasonic power and force to form bonds. It is a popular method and is
commonly used in the semiconductor industry. Wire bonders typically
require threading a 25 micron (1 mm) diameter wire through an invisible
hole. Figure 2 shows the example of wedge bonding.

Figure 2: Wedge Bonding


3.2.3

Compliant Bonding
Compliant bonding connects gold wires to various critical components
such as the silicon integrated circuit or "chip". The bond is formed well
below the melting point of the mating gold surfaces and is therefore
referred to as a solid-state type bond. The Compliant bond is uniquely
formed by transmitting heat and pressure to the bond region through a
relatively thick or compliant medium which is generally used in the
form of an aluminum tape. Figure 3 shows an example of compliant
bonding.

Figure 3: Compliant Bonding