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—4 Acid Choice:—4 Acid Temperature: ––5 Determine Correct Fixturing: —5 Determine Pulse or Reciprocating:—5 Determine Heat-up Time:—6 Determine Etch Volume:—6 Rinse Time:—7 Etch Time:—7 3 .Contents Characterization of Plastic Packages—4 The characterization process is comprised of only eight steps.
Characterization of Plastic Packages This guide will show you in simple steps the art of characterizing and opening virtually any plastic package for decapsulation. The characterization process is comprised of only eight steps. If decapsulation is not sucessfull with nitric acid. Faster Etch Rate. Lowest grade that will decapsulate Hi-Temp packages. Acid Choice: Every package has an optimum acid for decapsulation. Lowest grade that will decapsulate plastic packages. The following paragraphs will explain how each of the steps are performed and can be optimized for a successful decapsulation. The lower the temperature the less chance of thermal stress being introduced to the sample. 1) Determine Correct Acid Type 2) Determine Temperature 3) Determine Fixturing 4) Choose Pulse / Reciprocating 5) Determine Heat-up Time 6) Determine Acid Volume 7) Determine Etch Time 8) Determine Rinse Time While everyone ultimately follows these eight steps. For this ﬁrst step any deﬁnition gasket that has an opening that is 50% of the size of the package may be used to determine the correct acid type to be used. Much less metal damage. Efﬁcacy has not been tested. If decapsulation is still not sucessfull ﬁnally use either 98% Sulfuric or 20% Fuming Sulfuric Acid. sample etch characterization. Characterization is the process of determining the correct etch recipe and ﬁxturing to successfully decapsulate a plastic package. Faster Etch Rate. Wider temp range. 4 . Will work in the system. Nitric acid uses the lowest temperature of all of the acid types usable in the system. the next step would be trying the six mixed ratios. Least expensive. using the eight steps in the correct order greatly reduces the time of characterization. Common Acids Used For Decapsulation: TYPE 90% Fuming Nitric 98% Fuming Nitric Red Fuming Nitric 96 to 98% Sulfuric 20% Fuming Sulfuric USES Least expensive. The ﬁrst thing to remember is: All plastic packages follow the same characterization process no matter what type of package you are trying to decapsulate. Much less metal damage. New users and veterans alike share one common dilemma. The ﬁrst rule in determining the acid type is to start with Fuming Nitric Acid.
Standard starting temperatures are: HNO3 75 to 80c Mixed 80 to 90c H2SO4 225 to 250°c In packages where unpassivated metals are used. a different technique is required. Any leaks will be visible in the waste line. Any leak in any of the mating surfaces will render reciprocating inoperable. Determine Pulse or Reciprocating: The choice of pulse or reciprocating etch determines the relative angle of the side wall. Whenever possible the use of a pocket gasket will optimize the ﬁxturing creating a precice location and cavity deﬁnition in a single gasket. The etch rate will be much slower. Sulfuric acid etches from the center outwards and therefore a gasket that is slightly larger than the die size is required. A reciprocating etch will produce a relatively straight side wall. Recriprocating etch does not work with applications using only fuming sulfuric acid. while pulse will produce a more rounded side wall. Conversly. With an isotropic etch the deﬁnition gasket hole must be slightly smaller than the die size. The deﬁnition gasket is determined by the acid type used for decapsulation. or put simply the higher the temperature the faster the etch. Reciprocating requires an excellent seal between the etch head. When nitric acid is use for decapsulation the etch will be isotropic. Determine Correct Fixturing: Once the acid type and temperature have been determined. The temperature range should be between 30 and 50°c in order to protect the metalization. The higher the temperature the more likely there may be metal damage. Reciprocating works with nitric acid. This also applies to mixed acid to a lesser extent. mixed acid. In other words the deeper the package. the correct ﬁxturing can be chosen. 5 . Use Pulse Etch only with fuming Sulfuric Acid applications. This can be seen because the waste acid will appear to be slowly moving toward the waste bottle while there is no pump operation. Therefore the correct temperature would be high enough to have a fast etch rate with no metal loss. and non-fuming sulfuric applications. gasket.Determine Etch Temperature: The basic rule for determining the temperature is as follows: The closer the etch temperature is to the boiling point of the acid the more reactive the acid will be. but the metal will be preserved. the larger the hole is going to be. and device to be etched.
Second device opens a little more than expected. Etch Time 60 Sec. Common indication of incorrect Heat-up Time: Decapsulation of ﬁrst device opens correctly. Device takes 60 sec to heat up. the ﬁrst device opens correctly. The reactivity of a given acid is determined by the chemistry and by Etch Temperature. If it is dark brown and not moving freely the volume is too low.* * Note: For all devices that have a heat sink. place the device on a hot plate at 85% of programmed temperature for 30 minutes to ensure that the 120 second Heat-up Time will start the etch process at Etch Time 1. Etch Time 60 Sec. If it is very dark brown and not moving freely the volume is too low. Efﬁcient and reproducible etching will not occur until the part is at the same temperature as the acid.Determine Heat-up Time: Heat-up time is the amount of time that is required to preheat the device to match the etch temperature selected. The color of the waste material will determine the correct volume. Device only takes 40 sec to heat up adding 20 sec to etch time. Fourth or ﬁfth device requires a reduction in etch time. For this example. By using 120 seconds of Heat-up Time almost all devices will start the etch process at Etch Time 1. Pumping Acid without Etching 40 Sec. Etch Time 20 Sec. As a general rule when using nitric acid start with a volume of 3 ml/min. Etch Time 20 Sec. Heat-up Time 20 Sec. Correct Setting Heat-up Time 120 Sec. Having too high of a volume wastes the acid. Therefore if the color of the waste acid is light brown to clear the volume is correct. If the waste acid is brown and moving freely the volume is correct. Programming of the heat-up time is dependent upon the temperature of the entire heat exchanger assembly and safety cover. Device only takes 20 sec to heat up adding 40 sec to etch time. If the waste acid is dark brown and moving freely the volume is still too low. Having too low of a volume requires a longer etch time than necessary. Third Device: Entire Etch area is Hot. which reduces as the waste acid moves away from the etch head. Second Device: Entire Etch area is warmer. Third device is almost over etched. The diagram below shows what is occuring and how to correct the problem. Etching takes 20 sec. Etch Time 40 Sec. Pumping Acid without Etching 20 Sec. The volume is determined differently when using nitric or nitric/sulfuric mixes when compared to sulfuric acid although both share a similar characteristic in that they each have waste material carrying capacity based on the reactivity and heat of the acid. Sulfuric acid requires a higher volume. If the waste acid is light brown to clear the volume is too high. Program Settings Heat-up Time 20 Sec. Determine Etch Volume: The etch volume is the amount of acid used in ( ml/min ) that is programmed in the etch time. 6 . Heat-up Time 20 Sec. Heat-up Time 20 Sec. First Device: Everything except the etch head is cold. The carrying capacity of the acid is inﬂuenced by the temperature of the acid.
Rinse Time: The rinse time serves two functions. This is especially true of parts that are opened using 20% Fuming Sulfuric Acid where the etch rate may be up to ﬁve times faster than other systems. and very important function. Start the characterization with the rinse time set to 12 seconds which is the middle of the programmable range. This back pressure will increase the efﬁciency of the acid by holding the acid on the device for a longer period of time. Nitric. The operator has the choice of Nitric.MIxed or No Rinse for Mixed acid packages. reduce the rinse time to make the cavity perfect. Continue to re-decapsulate the package changing the etch time to a shorter etch time only when you reach a decapsulation point at which it seems probable that an additional time increment (10 seconds or 60 seconds) will over etch the package. increase the rinse time in order to make the cavity perfect. For SO and TSOP packages start with 10 seconds. ( The subtraction of the 3 seconds is to account for the rinse time. Examine the package again. These are your base etch times. The Elite Etch operates with a waste cooling system which increases the back pressure to the heat exchancer. for all other packages 60 seconds works well as a starting time. there is little likelyhood of damage to the system during the purge process due to clogging of the system. decapsulate the package again using the above base etch time. 7 . If the die is not exposed. For example if the package is very slightly over etched. Sulfuric. or No Rinse for Sulfuric packages. or Sulfuric. ) Run another sample package using the calculated etch time and make minor corrections as necessary. The easiest way to determine the etch time is to run a sample of the package for a short period of time. If the rest of the recipe is characterized you can make small changes to perfect the etch. The second. Next add all of the etch times together and subtract 3 seconds for each time the package was etched. Examine the package opening. or No Rinse for Nitric packages. As the Elite Etch has active pressure monitoring.Etch Time: The etch time is the amount of time ( in seconds ) that the device is actually being etched. Sulfuric. is to make very small changes to the etch cavity. If the package is dirty or very slightly under etched. The ﬁrst is to clean the part with cold acid and ﬂush the part and waste line before nitrogen ﬂush.