Cohesive zone modeling for predicting interfacial delamination in microelectronic packaging

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Krieger, William E. R.
Sitaraman, Suresh K.
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Multi-layered electronic packages increase in complexity with demands for functionality. Interfacial delamination remains a prominent failure mechanism due to mismatch of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). Numerous studies have investigated interfacial cracking in microelectronic packages using fracture mechanics, which requires knowledge of starter crack locations and crack propagation paths. Cohesive zone theory has been identified as an alternative method for modeling crack propagation and delamination without the need for a pre-existing crack. In a cohesive zone approach, traction forces between surfaces are related to the crack tip opening displacement and are governed by a traction-separation law. Unlike traditional fracture mechanics approaches, cohesive zone analyses can predict starter crack locations and directions or simulate complex geometries with more than one type of interface. In a cohesive zone model, cohesive zone elements are placed along material interfaces. Parameters that define cohesive zone behavior must be experimentally determined to be able to predict delamination propagation in a microelectronic package. The objective of this work is to study delamination propagation in a copper/mold compound interface through cohesive zone modeling. Mold compound and copper samples are fabricated, and such samples are used in experiments such as four-point bend test and double cantilever beam test to obtain the cohesive zone model parameters for a range of mode mixity. The developed cohesive zone elements are then placed in a small-outline integrated circuit package model at the interface between an epoxy mold compound and a copper lead frame. The package is simulated to go through thermal profiles associated with the fabrication of the package, and the potential locations for delamination are determined. Design guidelines are developed to reduce mold compound/copper lead frame interfacial delamination.
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