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The Basics of Wire Bonding

Since electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller and microelectronics is becoming the norm, the demand for wire bonding is rapidly increasing. The wire bonding process, which can be used in all types of integrated circuits and semiconductors, fixes the wires for necessary components by using a specific combination of heat, pressure, and energy.

The wire bonding method eliminates the need for high levels of heat that would be found when using other attachment methods, such as soldering. It is typically used with soft types of fine diameter wires, which are known as bondwires.

Bondwires

Bondwires may be made of gold, silver, copper, or aluminum. Carefully selected alloys are also used in bondwires for their specific properties. These extremely fine wires can be as small as 15 micrometers and can be as large as hundreds of micrometers (when there are applications requiring higher system power).

Bondwires are usually made out of copper—but gold, aluminum, and silver are still popular options. These specific types of bondwire are carefully selected based on the design, requirements, and application of the component that contains them. The bondwire’s material also has an impact on the cost and the production of the component in question.

Types of Bonding

As mentioned, there is typically a combination of heat, pressure, and ultrasonic energy used in the wire bonding process. Therefore, different metals, as well as different specialty types of applications, will be better suited to the different bonding options.

The different bonding options are:

  • Thermosonic bonding – uses ultrasonic energy and force to slightly heat the material and the wire, while pressing them together. Both are then held in place and vibrated for a set amount of time to solidify the connection.
  • Thermocompression bonding – in this process, the contact surface is heated (and sometimes so is the wire). The two are then pressed together to create the bond. Ultrasonic energy and friction are not required in this method and are usually only used with gold wire on a gold surface.
  • Ultrasonic bonding – also uses force and ultrasonics, but it does not use heat. The wire and the material are both at room temperature during the entire process. It can be used with any type of bondwire and similar metal with very good results.

Within each of the general bonding types, there are also specific bonding techniques. These techniques vary based on the application, the metal, and the type of wire used in the component.

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