EFFECTS OF GLASS/EPOXY INTERPHASES ON ELECTRO-CHEMICAL FAILURES IN PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS
Sood, Bhanu Pratap
Pecht, Michael G
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Reduction in printed circuit board line spacing and via diameters and the increased density of vias with higher aspect ratios (ratio between the thickness of the board and the size of the drilled hole before plating) are making electronic products increasingly more susceptible to material and manufacturing defects. One failure mechanism of particular concern is conductive anodic filament formation, which typically occurs in two steps: degradation of the resin/glass fiber bond followed by an electrochemical reaction. The glass-resin bond degradation provides a path along which electrodeposition occurs due to electrochemical reactions. Once a path is formed, an aqueous layer, which enables the electrochemical reactions to take place, can develop through the adsorption, absorption, and capillary action of moisture at the resin/fiber interphase. This study describes the experimental and analytical work undertaken to understand the glass-resin delamination and the methods used for analyzing this critical interphase. This study shows that a smaller conductor spacing in reduces the time to failure due to conductive anodic filament formation and that the plated-through-hole to plated-through-hole conductor geometry is more susceptible to conductive anodic filament-induced failures than plated through hole to plane geometries. The results also show that laminates with similar materials and geometries with a 45-degree angle of weave demonstrate a higher resistance to conductive anodic filament formation compared with a 90-degree angle of weave. The study is the first of its kind conducted on FR-4 printed circuit board materials where the pathway formation due to breakage of the organosilane bonds at the glass/resin interphase was evaluated. Using techniques such as force spectroscopy, micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning quantum interface device microscopy and focused ion beam, evidence of bond breakage and a pathway formation was revealed, poor glass treatment, hydrolysis of the silane glass finish (adsorption of water at the glass fiber/epoxy resin interphase) or repeated thermal cycling contribute to the bond breakage. The technique of applying in-situ resistance measurements during cross-sectioning analysis of printed circuit boards suspected of conductive anodic filament is the first time this method is described in the open literature. This solution addresses the potential problem in destructive physical analysis of grinding away the evidence of the CAF filament and ultimately loosing evidence at the failure site. By applying a subset of the evaluation criteria described in this research, an upfront evaluation of printed circuit board materials can be performed for susceptibility to electro-chemical migration and other failure causes in PCBs that are attributable to the glass/resin interfacial adhesion. Manufacturers can identify board suppliers based on answers to and validation of a series of questions. These questions focus on the necessary requirements of reliable board material manufacturing and are independent of the specifications of the product.