Journal of SMT Article


Author: Peter Borgesen / Eric Cotts
Company: Universal / SUNY Binghamton
Date Published: 7/1/2004   Volume: 17-3

Abstract: Implanted electronic devices face an unusually benign environment in many respects. However, mechanisms still exist by which an occasional device may degrade and fail in service. Because of the extreme financial and ethical liabilities often involved, these warrant careful consideration in terms of how to test for them and, in particular, how to minimize the associated risk.

In this paper we discuss long term degradation phenomena active in solder based assemblies at body temperature, such as Kirkendall voiding and the growth of various intermetallics and whiskers. Depending on materials selection, supplier process control, and contamination, these may lead to significant reductions in the resistance to mechanical loads common in service, or possibly even to failure in the absence of a significant load. Underfilling may reduce and/or eliminate the risk of most such failures, but it introduces alternate risks which must be minimized by optimized materials selection and substrate design.

Key words: packaging, reliability, pacemaker, medical implant.

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