IWLPC - 13th Annual International Wafer Level Packaging Conference and Exhibition (2016)


Lynne Michaelson, Ph.D. - Presents Paper at 13th Annual IWLPC Conference


Read - ADVANCES AND APPLICATIONS OF GOLD ELECTROPLATING TO SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES



Technic’s Dr. Lynne Michaelson, Technic's Senior Materials Specialits, presented a paper on her recent work in Advanced Gold Electroplating for Semiconductor Devices at this year’s International Wafer Level Packaging Conference and Exhibition held October 18-19 in San Jose, California. We sat down with Dr. Michaelson to discuss her findings and talk about some of the work that has gone into her research.


An Interview with Lynne Michaelson, Ph.D., Technic Research Specialist

Technic’s Ron Mello sat down with Dr. Michaelson recently to discuss the paper she will be presenting at the 13th Annual International Wafer Level Packaging Conference and Exposition.


IWLPC-Technic Talk Episode 1a




    Ron M.:

      “Hi Lynn. So I understand you have been invited to present at this year’s IWLPC conference on your work with Gold Electroplating in Semiconductor Devices, what can you tell me about your work?”


    Dr. Michaelson:

      “At Technic we have been formulating gold plating solutions for over 50 years, so our history with this type of work has been passed on for decades. Early on, almost all gold plating was done with gold cyanide. Today there are still many companies that use cyanide-based chemistry for plating gold. The semiconductor industry cannot tolerate a cyanide-based chemistry, so they request that their chemical suppliers provide them with non-cyanide gold plating baths.”


      “Sulfite gold chemistry is the industry accepted option for plating non-cyanide gold. At Technic we first started to formulate sulfite gold plating baths over 20 years ago. The work that I will be presenting is based on some of the original formulas. The R&D group has taken these early formulas and improved them to meet the stringent requirements of today’s semiconductor companies.”


    Ron M.:

      “While I know that you can’t give me details of these changes but can you give me a simple example of one you made?”


    Dr. Michaelson:

      “Sure. This example is very basic. Our sulfite gold baths up until a few years ago contained mostly dry components. In a semiconductor clean room environment, a powdered product is not allowed. We converted all the components to a purified liquid to allow them to be used in a clean room environment.”


    Ron M.:

      “If Technic has been formulating these sulfite gold baths for so many years why has the company not presented this chemistry at IWLPC or other conferences in the past?”


    Dr. Michaelson:

      “Technic supplies many different industries, and it has only been in the last few years that we have focused specifically on the semiconductor industry. With the consolidation of a lot of our competitor's, manufacturers are looking for new suppliers with new products able to address today’s production demands. We’ve been approached by some large semiconductors companies about supplying them with specialty chemistry, including sulfite gold plating baths. Much of the work presented in this paper is based on the direct input from these companies. We have received a lot of positive feedback on the performance of our new sulfite gold bath which is called Elevate Gold 7990.”


IWLPC-Technic Talk Episode 1b


    Ron M.:

      “What can you tell me about the industries and applications that are going to benefit from this kind of research?”


    Dr. Michaelson:

      “Gold is a very desirable metal in many different industries. Besides being able to produce beautiful jewelry, there are many other things about it that people like. It has great thermal and electrical conductivity as well as good corrosion resistance and bondability. You're probably wondering what this all means? Well, different companies use gold for different reasons. For example, companies that make power amplifiers for cell phones need gold for their electrical and thermal conductivity so they can meet the high power demands for these devices.”


    Ron M.:

      “Gold is expensive. Do these devices use a lot of it?”


    Dr. Michaelson:

      “Gold is expensive, but the increased performance from using gold is worth it to the companies that use it. For some applications, gold is the only choice. The amount of gold that is also required varies, depending on the application. Our sulfite gold bath has been used to plate anywhere from 0.5 microns of gold up to 30 microns of gold. In the past, we’d struggled to plate features that required more than 5 microns. We had a hard time keeping the feature flat. With our new chemistry, we can now plate up to 30 microns or more with a completely flat deposit. I will present the work that we have done with very thick deposits along with some pretty nice pictures at IWLPC.”


      “Since gold is expensive, we work with our customers to reduce the amount required to obtain the best results. In the paper, I will show how our bath has dramatically improved our customers’ ability to plate into vias that are used in power amplifiers. This improved throwing power gives them the ability to reduce the overall amount of gold used in each device which can significantly reduce their production costs. “