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DA5 consortium to develop high-lead solder alternatives

Reutlingen, Germany — Bosch (Division Automotive Electronics), Freescale Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, NXP Semiconductors and STMicroelectronics have formed a consortium to develop 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).

The semiconductor industry has been striving to eliminate lead solder since the European Union’s RoHS Directive listed lead as one of the six initial hazardous substances. However, there is no single identified lead-free solution for all applications and no expectation of a substitute for a high-lead solder die attach before 2014, said ST.

Since any new solution will require a significant amount of substitute material development and evaluation, internal semiconductor process and product qualification, and semiconductor production conversion to guarantee product reliability, the aim of the DA5 consortium is to reduce the qualification time and to provide lead-free and environmentally-friendly solutions as quickly as possible, according to ST.

A previous joint effort known as the E4 successfully implemented environmentally-friendly materials for semiconductor packages; however, 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.

Semiconductor products use high-lead containing solder for a die attach material in power devices, diodes and transistors, for clip bonding of discrete devices and for surface-mount and insertion components. Many of these devices have a critical 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, said ST.

The DA5 consortium is soliciting input from die attach material suppliers to jointly evaluate and develop possible alternatives.

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