LONDON Carnegie Mellon University and Intel Corp. have said they will unveil a new class of materials called solder magnetic nanocomposites that, because they can be RF-heated, could improve electronics packaging.
The development is due to be discussed at the 11th annual Magnetism and Magnetics Materials Conference being held Jan. 18 to 22 at the Marriott Washington Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.
A Carnegie Mellon research team led by Michael McHenry, professor of materials science and engineering, in collaboration with Raja Swaminathan, Intel senior packaging materials engineer, have devised an RF heating technique for solder magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) composites that can sufficiently heat solders to cause reflow without placing computer chips in conventional solder reflow ovens.
The use of hot air convection or infrared ovens to solder chips onto PCBs incurs significant energy costs and also poses the risk of chip warpage. It is also problematic for some pre-programmed memory chips that can be erased by heating.
McHenry's team worked with Intel's Swaminathan to develop a tool that uses radio frequency coils to heat specially designed magnetic particles that are mixed with solder pastes.
"By varying the concentration and composition of these magnetic particles we can control the time it takes to heat them, which ultimately helps improve the speed of processing them, and potentially lowers the cost," said McHenry, co-publication chair of the MMM/Intermag Conference, in a statement issued by Carnegie Mellon University.
"This first successful demonstration could open up possibilities of other applications even outside microelectronic packaging," said Swaminathan in the same statement. "Though we have a long way to go in implementing a locally melting solder in actual applications, the concept of local heating opens up many processing opportunities that we are working to further explore with McHenry. There is significant opportunity here for good basic science and technology exploration," Swaminathan said.
"There are many possibilities for this process throughout a variety of industry sectors, including the semiconductor sector, aerospace and data storage industry," McHenry said.
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