Symposium Conference Proceedings

Determine Critical Cleaning Process Parameters for QFNs

Authors: Umut Tosun, M.S. Chem. Eng., Naveen Ravindran, M.S. Chem. Eng., and Michael McCutchen, M.S. Chem.
Company: ZESTRON America
Date Published: 4/17/2013   Conference: Symposium

Abstract: QFN or Quad Flat No Leads or MLF (Micro Lead Frame) packages are one of the fastest growing package types within the electronics industry. These components physically and electrically connect integrated circuits to printed circuit boards. The QFN package is similar to the Quad Flat Package, but the leads do not extend out from the package sides. This is a near CSP plastic encapsulated package made with a planar copper lead frame substrate. Perimeter lands on the package bottom provide electrical connections to the PCB. The exposed thermal pad included in the package increases heat transfer from the integrated circuit into the PCB. Heat transfer can be further facilitated by metal via the thermal pad. The body size of the component ranges from 2 mm x 2 mm to 12 mm x 12 mm and the lead pitch could be as low as 0.4 mm.

Since the leads of the QFN package do not extend out from the component body, but are located underneath the component body, cleaning the flux residues after the soldering process becomes a challenge. The low standoff associated with such components, typically 1 mil, and the large thermal pad at the center of the component body pose barriers to the complete removal of flux residues. Partially removed or untouched residues can lead to component failure resulting from electrochemical migration via dendritic growth as well as electrical leakage currents.

This study is designed in two phases and will determine the critical cleaning process parameters for complete cleanliness underneath leadless devices or QFNs. Two groups of paste types will be used; lead-free water soluble and lead-free noclean. The cleaning process will employ an aqueous alkaline cleaning agent and spray-in-air cleaning equipment.

The goal of each phase is as follows:

Phase 1: Determine the critical wash process parameters and cleaning equipment settings for QFN components.

Phase 2: Utilizing process parameters from Phase 1, verify cleaning results by using an industry standard test board.

Cleanliness will be assessed via visual inspection for Phase 1 and visual inspection and Ion Chromatography analysis for Phase 2.

Key Words: 

QFN, low standoff, cleaning agent, chemistry

Members download articles for free:

Not a member yet?

What else do you get when you join SMTA? Read about all of the benefits that go along with membership.

Notice: Sharing of articles is restricted to just your immediate work group. Downloaded papers should not be stored on an external network or shared on the internet.


SMTA Headquarters
6600 City West Parkway, Suite 300
Eden Prairie, MN 55344 USA

Phone +1 952.920.7682
Fax +1 952.926.1819