Journal of SMT Article

Alternatives to Solder in Interconnect, Packaging, and Assembly

Authors: Herbert J. Neuhaus, Ph.D., and Charles E. Bauer, Ph.D.
Company: TechLead Corporation
Date Published: 1/31/2013   Volume: 26-1

Abstract: Solder plays a special role in the world of electronics manufacturing as evidenced by the disruptive nature of the lead-free movement. The intense search for attractive lead-free solders reveals the preeminent importance of solder to the industry. In fact, solder consumes so much attention that solder-less alternatives are often overlooked. Material-based alternatives to solder include conductive adhesives and transient-phase compounds. Developments in nanotechnology spawned a virtual renaissance in conductive adhesives and other solder-less joining materials.

As a complement to the solder-less materials developments, embedded assemblies use conventional materials in novel ways to improve performance by cutting interconnect parasitics and increase reliability gains by eliminating wire-bonds and solder-bumps. Freescale, Imbera, GE, Verdant, and many others develop and employ diverse approaches to embedding active devices. Particle Interconnect represents another solder alternative. While originally developed for automated test, particle interconnect holds considerable promise in a variety of applications including LED assembly and printed electronics.

This presentation surveys the landscape of alternatives to solder in interconnect, packaging, and assembly. Next, the presentation treats practical implementation challenges such as yield management strategies and supply chain restructuring. Finally, the presentation concludes with a discussion of scenarios in which solder alternatives offer highly compelling business and technical benefits.

Keywords: 

lead-free, conductive adhesives, nano-scale fillers, nanotech fillers, TLPS, particle interconnect, embedded packaging.



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