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592 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ADVANCED PACKAGING, VOL. 22, NO.

4, NOVEMBER 1999

Study of Fluxless Soldering


Using Formic Acid Vapor
Wei Lin and Y. C. Lee

Abstract—This paper presents a systematic study of the use of however, some optical devices may be damaged during the
formic acid vapor fluxless soldering with eutectic Pb/Sn solder. cleaning procedure. When a flip-chip design is used or when
The study focused on the solder joint self-aligning process and there are machined cavities in the submount, as with silicon
the final alignment accuracy. The main effect considered was
the formic acid vapor concentration. In addition, other effects of optical bench assembly, solvent or plasma cleaning is not
solder joint height and background vibration were studied. The effective in removing the organic residue from tight spaces or
self-alignment characteristics of the fluxless soldering process was hidden cavities. Fluxless soldering thus becomes very critical
as good as those using liquid flux at 220  C. 2 m alignment to flip-chip optoelectronic assembly.
accuracy could be achieved within 10 s. The most important Therefore, fluxless soldering is becoming an active research
parameter was the formic acid vapor concentration in the reflow
chamber. The effective concentration window was found to be area. The studies can be classified into two categories. The
greater than 0.7% in volume. technologies in the first category involve a precleaning process
and a protective reflow process. In the second category, various
Index Terms—Electronic packaging, fluxless, formic acid, self
alignment, solder reflow. active oxide removing technologies are applied to remove the
oxide during solder reflow.
For studies with a precleaning process, MCNC developed
I. INTRODUCTION a fluxless soldering process called “PADS”—Plasma Assisted
Dry Soldering [4]. Researchers at Hitachi developed a fluxless
S OLDERING technology is widely used in microelec-
tronics and optoelectronics for electrical and mechanical
connections. Conventional soldering typically uses liquid flux
process using argon atom sputter-etching to clean the solder
surface before reflow in a forming gas or pure nitrogen
to promote wetting of the base metal by the solder alloy. Flux atmosphere [5].
residues must then be removed from the soldered assembly. For studies with oxide removal during reflow, forming gas
Although the residues are generally not electrically conduc- was used during Au/Sn eutectic die bonding [6]. GTE Lab
tive, they are corrosive and can cause long term reliability used acetic acid vapor fluxless soldering to bond the laser
problems. Rosin-based flux residues are normally removed die [7]. Other active gases such as CF , CF Cl , and SF
with halogenated or chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) solvents. While were also investigated for soldering 95Pb5Sn at 350 C [8].
these manufacturing processes have been in use for years, AT&T used flip-chip soldering based on formic acid vapor
the environmental impact of these hazardous solvents on for various optoelectronic modules [9], [10], [11]. Excellent
ozone depletion will eventually limit or prevent their use [1]. self-alignment results have been reported at normal soldering
Consequently, new solvents, cleaning methods, and no-clean temperature for these modules. BOC Gases also developed a
fluxes are being developed to meet the CFC phase out. In wave soldering system using formic acid vapor [12].
addition, fluxless soldering technologies are being studied to Based on these studies, formic acid vapor appears to be one
complement the other activities. of the most promising reaction gases for fluxless soldering
For optoelectronic device assembly, the requirement of technologies. The formic acid vapor is active at typical solder-
fluxless soldering is more critical because the use of liquid ing temperature, and the process implementation is relatively
flux is further limited due to concerns about contamination of simple. In addition, the formic acid decomposes at the reflow
optically active surfaces by organic residue [2]. An example temperature so that it does not contaminate the devices. The
is the packaging of the liquid-crystal-on silicon spatial light gaseous formic acid to metal oxide reaction can be described
modulator [3]. When solder is melted in the presence of liquid as [13]
flux, organic and ionic ingredients in the flux vaporize and When 150 C
then condense or splatter over both the optical and wiring MeO HCOOH Me COOH H O
surfaces, degrading the electrical and optical characteristics
of the assembly. For simple component assemblies, it may When 200 C
be possible to remove the residue by subsequent cleaning; Me COOH Me CO H
H MeO Me H O
Manuscript received November 4, 1998; revised August 16, 1999.
W. Lin is with the Nokia Research Center, Irving, TX 75039 USA. where Me represents metal.
Y. C. Lee is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University
of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0427 USA. When the temperature is between 150 C and 200 C, the
Publisher Item Identifier S 1521-3323(99)09050-4. formic acid reacts with solder oxide to form a compound.
1521–3323/99$10.00  1999 IEEE
LIN AND LEE: STUDY OF FLUXLESS SOLDERING USING FORMIC ACID VAPOR 593

When the temperature is higher than 200 C, the compound


further decomposes into carbon dioxide and hydrogen.
Unfortunately, most of the publications about formic acid
soldering reported only the soldering results without a para-
metric study. A better understanding of this soldering reflow
process is needed to assist the technology development. This
paper reports a systematic study on the use of formic acid
vapor for soldering with eutectic Sn/Pb. Performance mea-
surement to characterize a solder reflow process is defined
quantitatively. The effects of flow rate, acid temperature, and
acid concentration on the soldering performance are reported
and discussed. In addition, other effects such as the solder
joint height and the background vibrations during the reflow
are discussed.

II. PERFORMANCE MEASURE FOR SOLDER SELF-ALIGNMENT


In order to evaluate the performance of fluxless solder-
Fig. 1. Definition of self-alignment time.
ing, it was necessary to define the performance measure.
Different criteria for soldering performance evaluation were
used for different applications. They included solder joint could be controlled. The detail measurement procedure for the
profile, wetting area, wetting speed, wetting angle, etc. For formic acid vapor concentration is defined later in Section III-
flip-chip self-alignment applications, the major concerns were D. The bubbler containing the formic acid solution was placed
the dynamics of self-aligning process as well as the final on a hot plate so that the acid solution temperature could
alignment accuracy. The dynamics was important because it be controlled. The formic acid vapor flowed into the reflow
showed how the chip moved and how fast it reached the steady chamber, where the self-aligning test vehicle was placed on a
state. It was also sensitive to process variation and could hot plate. The hot plate temperature could be adjusted using
reveal potential problems occurring during reflow. The final a temperature controller.
alignment accuracy was a steady state measurement of the The experimental test vehicle was a flip-chip assembly con-
self-aligning soldering performance. taining a component and a substrate connected by a solder joint
The reflow dynamics and the final alignment accuracy were array as shown in Fig. 2(b). The component and the substrate
selected as criteria for evaluating the solder self-aligning were both glass with an array of solder pads and alignment
processes. The alignment accuracy was defined as the mis- marks. For convenience, the component and the substrate were
alignment between the chip and the substrate. The reflow the same size, 10 10 mm. The solder pads were 1 mm square.
dynamics was the chip movement over the entire reflow The metallization was Ti( A) Cu( m).
process beginning immediately after the solder melted. A There were nine alignment marks on the chip and the sub-
precision fiber-optic sensor was used to record the chip self- strate for the alignment accuracy measurement. The alignment
aligning process. In order to quantitatively evaluate how fast marks and the solder pads were designed on the same mask,
the self-alignment performs, we defined the self-alignment and made by the same photolithography process to ensure the
time as (see Fig. 1) accuracy of the marks relative to solder pads.
Self-alignment time
B. Alignment Accuracy Measurement
The time it took for the chip to move from
90% to 10% of the steady state position The position of each mark was measured by a high precision
microscope. The alignment accuracy, which was the misalign-
In Fig. 1, this was the time for the chip to move from 2.8 m ment between the chip and the substrate, at each mark was
to 25.2 m. calculated by

III. EXPERIMENTS

A. Experimental Setup and Test Vehicle


A schematic diagram of the experimental setup used for where were the coordinates of the marks
this study is shown in Fig. 2(a). Nitrogen gas was bubbled on the component and the substrate, respectively. We measured
through a flask containing the formic acid solution to generate the alignment at each of the nine marks. The average alignment
the formic acid vapor. In order to adjust the concentration of accuracy was
the formic acid vapor, a second channel of pure nitrogen was
introduced and combined with the formic acid vapor channel.
By adjusting the flow rate of each channel, the concentration
594 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ADVANCED PACKAGING, VOL. 22, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1999

(a)

Fig. 3. Component movement corresponding to thermal expansion.

(b)
Fig. 2. (a) Experimental setup for the formic acid vapor soldering. (b) Test
vehicle.

C. Measurement of the Dynamics of the


Self-Alignment Processes
Since the self-aligning motion was usually finished within
seconds, and the motion was at the micrometer level, the
measurement system must have sub-micron resolution and
a high sampling rate. A measurement technique with these
requirements was a fiber-optic displacement sensor [14]. The
fiber-optic sensor was a high performance transducer that used
bundled glass fibers to transmit and receive light from a target
Fig. 4. Self-aligning motion derived from the combined movement.
object. By measuring the change in the light intensity, the
corresponding distance from the sensor to the target surface
could be precisely calculated. The resolution of the sensor was self-aligning motion. We used a soldered test vehicle to mea-
good to a sub-micron level, and the sample rate could be as sure the thermal expansions. Fig. 3 shows the measured chip
high as 10 kHz. This sensor provided stable, highly repeatable, movements corresponding to the system thermal expansion
linear displacement measurements suitable for the soldering only. It was measured three times, and the results were quite
dynamics study. repeatable. This movement resulted from the expansion of
During the measurement, the sensor probe targeted the chip the glass test vehicle, the hot plate, and other components
edge. The hotplate was adjusted in the - direction as well of the experimental setup. Fig. 4 illustrates how the chip self-
as rotation to ensure the probe was perpendicular to the chip aligning movement was derived. The self-aligning movement
edge. The sensor was adjustable in the -direction. These was determined by subtracting the thermal expansion from
adjustments also assured that the hotplate was horizontal in the the combined chip movement.
-direction, and the chip self-alignment motion was only in
one direction ( -direction). The sensor was always calibrated D. Measurement of Formic Acid Vapor Concentrations
prior to each measurement [14]. The acid vapor concentration played a critical role in the
What the sensor measured was actually the combination of formic acid vapor soldering. It was important to accurately
the chip self-aligning movement and the thermal expansions measure the acid vapor concentrations in volume generated by
of the system components. Therefore, we had to eliminate the bubbler corresponding to different process variables. The
the thermal expansion effect in order to measure the chip measurement was based on the ideal gas law. Liquid vapors
LIN AND LEE: STUDY OF FLUXLESS SOLDERING USING FORMIC ACID VAPOR 595

followed the ideal gas law very well when the pressure was
low [15]. It was reasonable to assume the formic acid vapor
and the nitrogen gas were ideal gas following the equation:

(1)

where
gas pressure;
gas volume;
temperature (in Kelvin);
mole number of the gas;
molecular mole constant.
The procedure used to measure the concentration is listed
as follows.
1) Measured the initial mass of the formic acid
solution in the bubbler.
2) Turned on the N gas at a fixed flow rate , for a
fixed time period .
3) Measured the mass of the formic acid solution
remained in the bubbler.
4) The amount of formic acid carried out by the nitrogen
during the fixed time period was the mass loss of the
formic acid solution in the bubbler: Fig. 5. Formic acid vapor concentrations at different acid temperatures.

(2)
4% to 7% for temperatures changing from room temperature
5) Calculated the mass loss to a mole number: (25 C) to 50 C.
In order for the formic acid vapor concentration in the
(3) chamber to be adjusted below 4%, another channel of N gas
was introduced, as shown in Fig. 2(a). The acid concentration
where was the molecular mole. For formic acid in the chamber could be calculated by
(HCOOH), 48.6.
6) Used the ideal gas equation (1) to calculate the corre- (7)
sponding formic acid vapor volume:
where was the flow rate of the HCOOH channel and
(4) was the flow rate in the N channel. With this setup, the
acid concentration in the chamber could be adjusted either by
where was the pressure of the gas which was ap- changing the acid temperature or by changing the flow rate
proximately equal to the ambient pressure and was ratio of the two channels.
the vapor temperature. At the site of the experiment, the
ambient pressure was 12.34 Psi.
E. Experimental Procedure
7) Calculated the volume of the nitrogen gas by
Before the measurement, the initially misaligned test ve-
(5) hicles were assembled first. The dynamics measurement was
performed during the reflow of these misaligned test vehicles.
8) Determined the volume concentration of the formic acid The final alignment accuracy was measured after the test
vapor as vehicles had cooled down. The experimental procedure is
listed as follows.
(6) 1) To form misaligned test samples:
Placed the samples on the hot plate. Turned on the
The vapor concentration was determined by the formic formic acid vapor at a fixed concentration. Heated the
acid vapor pressure in the bubbler. The pressure in turn samples to 220 C to melt the solder joints. Tilting
was affected only by the acid solution temperature. Fig. 5 the hotplate to 4 resulted in a 30 m misalignment.
shows the measured volume concentrations at different acid After one minute, turned off the hotplate. When the
temperatures. The concentrations were measured three times temperature was down to 170 C, opened the chamber.
at each temperature. The figure shows the average values and The samples were then cooled to room temperature in
error bars. As expected, when the temperature increased, the air. Exposing the samples to air was intended to form
concentration increased. The concentration level ranged from solder oxide. The misaligned samples were assembled
596 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ADVANCED PACKAGING, VOL. 22, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1999

flux. As the concentration decreased, the self-alignment was


much slower. It took 60 seconds to reach the steady state
at a concentration of 0.66%. At even lower concentrations,
the chip did not fully self-align. As shown in the figure,
the self-alignment performance was strongly dependent on
the concentration of the formic acid vapor in the chamber.
The higher the concentration the faster the movement. There
was a saturation point where increases in concentration had
no effect. When the concentration was too high, the formic
acid was wasted, and could cause potential contamination and
safety problems. The figure also shows that the measurement
repeatability was very good in cases with concentration greater
than 0.66%. The repeatability with low concentrations (0.47%,
0.35%) was poor because the solder oxides could not be
completely removed.
The solder self-aligning was driven by the solder restoring
force. The solder restoring force was proportional to the
effective oxide-free surface area. For an oxide-free solder joint,
the restoring force was large because the entire surface was
effective. On the other hand, with some oxides remained, the
effective surface area was reduced, so does the restoring force.
Fig. 6. Reflow dynamics at different vapor concentrations.
The more oxides, the smaller the effective surface area and
the smaller the restoring force.
in one batch so that all the samples had the same initial The solder oxide removal rate in the formic acid vapor
condition. soldering was related to the formic acid vapor concentration.
2) Dynamics measurement: As mentioned previously, the reaction between the formic acid
Adjusted the hot plate with a misaligned sample to and the solder oxide was represented as
the horizontal position. Turned on the N channel only
without the formic acid vapor. Heated the sample to HCOOH MeO Me COOH H O (8)
170 C, and then turned on the flow of the formic acid This was a gas-solid reaction. The adsorption of the formic
vapor. At the same time, started the measurement of acid vapor on solder oxide surface was the first step in the
the dynamics of the reflow process. When the hot plate reaction. The adsorption mechanism could be described by
temperature reached 220 C, held it at 220 C for 5 the Langmuir isotherm [16]
min, then turned it off and let the sample cool to room
temperature. HCOOH
(9)
3) Alignment accuracy measurement: HCOOH
After the sample was cooled to room temperature, mea-
sured the final alignment accuracy using an optical where [HCOOH] was the formic acid vapor concentration. It
microscope. represented the fraction of the solder surface covered by the
adsorbed gas molecules at equilibrium. was the adsorption
equilibrium constant for a given temperature.
IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS According to the reaction kinetics [16], the reaction rate of
the formic acid vapor on the solder oxide surface, represented
A. Acid Vapor Concentration Effect on Self-Aligning Dynamics by (8), was
As previously mentioned, the acid vapor concentration in the HCOOH
reflow chamber could be adjusted by either the flow rate ratio MeO MeO (10)
HCOOH
or the acid temperature. The effects of these two approaches
were studied. where was the reaction rate constant.
1) Changing Concentration by Changing Flow Rate Combi- From (10), when HCOOH (in the cases with low
nation: We fixed the flow rate of the N channel at 1.8 l/min, concentration), the reaction rate was a second order effect of
and changed the flow rate of the HCOOH channel. The acid the formic acid vapor concentration. When HCOOH
temperature was kept at room temperature (23 C). The reflow (in the cases with high concentration), the reaction rate was
dynamics were measured at four different concentrations. The a zeroth order effect of the formic acid vapor concentration.
measurement was repeated two times for each case. The hot A plot of the reaction rate vs. the acid vapor concentration is
plate temperature was held at 220 C for all the measurements. shown in Fig. 7. The curve was a “S” shape. The rate changed
Fig. 6 shows chip movement as a function of time. When dramatically in the middle range of the concentrations, but did
the concentration was 1.7%, the self-alignment was complete not change extensively at either the extremely low or high
within 10 s. This was very fast, similar to the case with liquid concentration ranges.
LIN AND LEE: STUDY OF FLUXLESS SOLDERING USING FORMIC ACID VAPOR 597

Fig. 7. Reaction rates at different vapor concentrations.


Fig. 8. Reflow dynamics at different acid temperatures (concentration =
0:47%).
The ratio of two reaction rates at two different concentra-
tions could be calculated by
HCOOH flow rate 0.225 l/min
HCOOH HCOOH N flow rate 1.8 l/min
(11)
HCOOH HCOOH
Case 2: Acid solution temperature 40 C
When HCOOH , Eq. (11) could be simplified as HCOOH flow rate 0.225 l/min
N flow rate 2.41 l/min
HCOOH
(12) Group 2: High concentration
HCOOH
Acid concentration in the reflow chamber %
From this equation, the ratio of the reaction rate was equal Case 1: Acid solution temperature 23 C (room
to the square of the ratio of the vapor concentration. As we temperature)
found in the experiments, 1.7% concentration resulted in a 10- HCOOH flow rate 1.0 l/min
s self-alignment time, while 0.66% concentration resulted in a N flow rate 1.8 l/min
60-second self-alignment time. We had
Case 2: Acid solution temperature 40 C
HCOOH HCOOH flow rate 1.0 l/min
HCOOH N flow rate 2.65 l/min
According to the calculation, the two cases in each group
reached the same acid vapor concentration in the reflow
chamber (0.47% and 1.7%, respectively).
The similar ratios in the above calculation suggested the
Fig. 8 shows the measured results for Group 1, and Fig. 9
self-alignment time be determined by the reaction rate. The
shows the results for Group 2. In each group, the reflow
reaction rate was expected to play a crucial role in solder
dynamics of the two different cases were very similar. The acid
self-alignment. This rate was proportional to the square of the
temperature did not directly influence the reflow performance.
vapor concentration in low concentration ranges.
Instead, its effect was due to the acid concentration in the
2) Changing Concentration by Changing Acid Solution Tem-
reflow chamber. As long as the concentration in the reflow
perature: Another way to change the acid vapor concentration
chamber remained the same, the reflow performances were the
in the chamber was to change the temperature of the acid
same. The acid vapor concentration in the reflow chamber was
solution. To study the acid temperature effect, we conducted
the critical parameter that determined the reflow performance.
two groups of experiments. Each group studied cases having
Flow rates and acid temperatures affected the concentrations
different flow rate combinations and acid temperatures but
and the corresponding reflow performance.
reaching the same concentration in the reflow chamber. The
conditions of these two groups are listed below:
Group 1: Low concentration B. Solder Joint Height Effect on Self-Alignment Dynamics
Acid concentration in the reflow chamber % Fig. 10 shows the chip self-aligning motion with two dif-
Case 1: Acid solution temperature 23 C (room ferent solder joint heights: 350 m and 200 m. Both cases
temperature) had the same solder pad size and reflow conditions:
598 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ADVANCED PACKAGING, VOL. 22, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1999

Fig. 9. Reflow dynamics at different acid temperatures (concentration =


1:7%).

Fig. 11. Calculated restoring forces at different joint heights.

ing force. Using the solder joint design model developed by


Lin [17], the restoring forces for the above two cases were
calculated, as shown in Fig. 11. The solder pad sizes were
1 mm . The chip weight was 0.43 g. The surface tension
coefficient used was 360 dyne/cm [18]. There were four joints
for each assembly. The solder volumes for case 1 and case
2 were 0.36 mm , 0.18 mm , respectively. Different solder
volumes resulted in different solder joint height of 350 m
and 200 m. As shown in the figure, the restoring force for the
shorter joint was much greater than that of the longer joint. The
measured results confirmed the advantage of using the shorter
joint heights. On the other hand, a disadvantage of shorter
joints was the higher level of strain during a temperature
cycling and potential reduction in fatigue life.

C. Vibration Effect on Self-Alignment Dynamics


Since the alignment accuracy required for optoelectronics
was in the m level, any external system vibration could
Fig. 10. Reflow dynamics at different joint heights. cause potential misalignment. In addition, as shown by solder
dynamics modeling, the chip self-aligning process was a
damping oscillation process balanced by the solder restoring
Reflow temperature 220 C
force and the viscous drag. The vibration and the oscillation
N flow rate 1.8 l/min
effects on the solder self-alignment should also be studied.
HCOOH flow rate 0.225 l/min We conducted the reflow process measurements at a 250 Hz
Acid vapor concentration % sample rate. The conditions for the experiments were
As shown in the figure, at 0.47% acid concentration, the 1) acid solution temperature: 23 C;
sample with 350 m joint height could not completely self- 2) flow rate: HCOOH 1 l/min, N 1.8 l/min;
align. However the sample with 200 m joint height produced 3) vapor concentration %;
an efficient self-alignment process to reach a final alignment 4) reflow temperature 220 C;
accuracy of 3 m. The shorter joint generated a larger restor- 5) joint height 350 m.
LIN AND LEE: STUDY OF FLUXLESS SOLDERING USING FORMIC ACID VAPOR 599

Fig. 13. Alignment accuracy at different concentrations.

Fig. 12. Vibrations during the self-aligning process.


an oxide-free surface. As a result, was very small and
was expected with a corresponding overdamped
Fig. 12 shows the self-alignment reflow process recorded.
motion. Fig. 12 confirmed this theory. The oscillatory motion
The first observation was the self-alignment motion without
observed by Landry was for solder joints with oxide-free
oscillation. The chip gradually reached the zero misalignment
surfaces, and that measurement was not representative of the
position. This measured result was different from the solder
real self-alignment procedure.
joint oscillation reported by Landry, Patra, and Lee with large
On the other hand, the vibration was always there during the
printed circuit board (PCB) test vehicle [19].
self-alignment and at the steady state. This vibration was due
In general, the oscillation motion associated with solder joint
to the external vibration sources from the lab surroundings. As
reflow was modeled by a spring-damper system. The forces
shown in the figures, the vibration was in the range of 0.1 m
applied to the solder joint were
for the cases studied.
1) solder restoring force
for small misalignment D. Alignment Accuracy

2) viscous damping force Final alignment accuracy was another important perfor-
mance measure. From the above dynamics study, the acid
vapor concentration was found to be the most important factor
in formic acid vapor soldering. Therefore, we measured the
The chip motion could be modeled by alignment accuracy at different concentrations of 1.7%, 0.66%,
0.47%, and 0.35%. The results are shown in Fig. 13. Four
samples were measured for each concentration. The reflow
The above equation had different solutions [20], depending temperature was 220 C, and the joint height was 350 C.
on the relation between and , where The results show that very good alignments of 2 m average
could be achieved at 1.7% vapor concentration. Even at 0.66%
concentration, the alignment was still in 3 m range. But
once the concentration was reduced to 0.47% or 0.35%,
the alignment became very poor with large variations. The
concentration range from 0.47% to 0.66% was the critical
when , the solution was not periodic and did not range for the formic acid fluxless soldering. In this range,
represent an oscillatory motion. The damping force was large the reflow performance changed dramatically. The alignment
enough that, when the chip was displaced from its equilibrium accuracy was quite repeatable when the concentrations were
position, it did not vibrate but only moved gradually back greater than 0.66%.
to its original position. In this case, the solder assembly was We also measured the alignment accuracy at some other
overdamped. In the cases measured, the solder melted with reflow conditions such as different joint heights; different
different surface conditions as a function of time. During reflow temperatures and acid temperatures. These measured
melting, the restoring force could not reach the level with results are presented in Fig. 14.
600 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ADVANCED PACKAGING, VOL. 22, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 1999

for efficient soldering. Its concentration in the reflow chamber


was the most important process parameter. The concentration
affected the reaction rate, and the minimum concentration was
found to be 0.66% for solder self-alignment. In addition to
the concentration, the solder joint height had a visible effect
on the solder self-alignment. Shorter joints self-aligned more
quickly than longer joints. This result verified the theoretical
understanding of the solder joint modeling.
The self-aligning motion consisted of micro-level vibrations
in the level of 0.1 m for the cases studied. The oscillatory
motion in the macro-level was not observed in the study.
This paper focused on the study of the reaction of formic
acid vapor on the already formed solder joint surface and its
effect on the self-alignment performance. It should be noted
that the reaction among formic acid vapor, liquid solder, and
the Cu (or Ni/Au) pad was also very important for initial reflow
condition, and need to be further studied.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors wish to thank G. Freeman, Digital Equipment
Corporation, and S. Adams, BOC Gas, for helpful discussions.
Fig. 14. Comparison of the alignment accuracy at different reflow condi- They would also like to thank D. Proker, University of
tions. Colorado at Boulder, for conducting some of the experiments.

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LIN AND LEE: STUDY OF FLUXLESS SOLDERING USING FORMIC ACID VAPOR 601

Wei Lin received the M.S. degree in industrial automation from Tsinghua Y. C. Lee received the B.S.M.E. degree from National Taiwan University,
University, China, in 1991, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C., in 1978, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the
from University of Colorado, Boulder in 1995. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1982 and 1984, respectively.
He is currently with the Nokia Research Center, Irving, TX. His major He is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate
research areas include electronic packaging, self-aligned soldering, fluxless Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Packaging for
soldering, solder joint design, CSP reliability, and FEM simulation. Microwave, Optical and Digital Electronics, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Prior to joining the University of Colorado in 1989, he was Member of
Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ. His research interests
include low-lost prototyping and thermal management of multichip modules,
3-D packaging, self-aligning soldering, thermosonic bonding, optoelectronics
packaging, and fuzzy logic modeling and control.
Dr. Lee received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from National
Science Foundation in 1990 and the Outstanding Young Manufacturing
Engineer Award from SME in 1992.