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The purpose of this report
is to review the reliability issues between gold wire and copper wire in thermosonic
ball bonding. By comparing the advantage and disadvantage of both gold wire and
copper wire to see if copper wire can be used to fully replace gold wire in
thermosonic ball bonding.

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(Russell Tobias, May 2015)

IC packages, thermosonic bonding is widely used to create electrical
connections between the die pad and lead frame. These interconnect are made
using a combination of lower heat and pressure with ultrasonic energy, as shown
in the diagram.



Thermosonic Bonding:

(Hybond, 2018)

a process which uses force, time, ultrasonic and heat to create electrical
connection from the contact pad to the lead frame. The wire is pressed against
the hot surface with a low force and ultrasonic force that vibrated for a
period of time to achieve the bond.








There are two types of wires use in thermos-sonic ball

Gold Wire Bonding:

(Hybond, 2018)

a ball or sphere is formed on the end of the contact pad with an EFO
(Electronic Flame Off). The flame-off was done with an open hydrogen flame
which would rotate towards the end of the wire and melt it, creating a ball at
the end of the wire.


(Small Precision Tools)


Copper Wire Bonding:

copper wire bonding process is very similar with gold wire bonding as it
basically uses the same wire bonder equipment with minor hardware and software
retrofits. Instead of gold wire, it is replaced by copper wire.

(Small Precision Tools)

wire bonding offers significant advantages over gold – superior product
performance in terms of electrical and thermal conductivity; better product
reliability due to slower intermetallic growth that causes voids; and higher
break load during wire pull testing.



& Disadvantage

Advantage of copper:

Lower cost

Strong mechanical properties

Excellent ball neck strength

Better Heat distribution

Increase power ratings with thinner wire

Lower resistivity

Very little void formation in the Al-Cu

Can be bonded on bare Cu substrates

Disadvantage of copper:

Cu is harder than both Al and Au, risk of
damaging the underlying pad and dielectrics.

Easy to be oxidised in air, requires
additional processing tools or coating to prevent oxidation.


(Z.W. Zhong, 2009)

bond ability for stitch/wedge bonds

Additional bonding parameters for using
forming inert gas

Copper VS Gold

As shown in the table as compared to Gold, Copper has a
better reliability as compared to Gold. Since Cu wires conduct heat faster and
better than Au, they allow for a shorter heat-affected zone (HAZ). As very high
currents and temperatures are reached during electronic flame-off (EFO) firing,
the heat generated during free air ball (FAB) formation will promote grain
growth along the wire. It is well known that grain growth is undesirable for
wire bond reliability.







(Z.W. Zhong, 2009)

conclusion, I personally think that using copper wire as the material for
thermosonic ball bonding is a good option. As the rising cost of Gold, better
mechanical and electrical properties, and better interfacial reliability of Copper
with Aluminium pads are the primary reasons for the transition from Gold to Copper.
As mention previously copper wire have many advantages as compared to wire
bonding using gold wire. Even though there is disadvantage, which brings many
new challenges to wire bonding. Companies just need to deal with the challenges
and solve the problems in copper wire bonding in order to fully benefit from
its many advantages



Russell Tobias, May 2015, Joining Methods in Electronics
Packaging: Sintered Silver and Eutectic Bonding,

Z.W. Zhong, 2009, Wire bonding using copper wire,

Small Precision Tools, Copper Wire Bonding Process,


Preeti Chauhan, Z.W. Zhong and Michael Pecht, 2009, Copper
Wire Bonding Concerns and Best Practices,

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