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