All new technologies will have their teething problems. If this does have the potential to overcome tin whiskers and allow long term, reliable, electronics, then that is worth pursuing.
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Nanotape will actually decrease the incidence of whiskers, according to the researchers, who claim that while nanotape technology still uses metallic alloys at the thermal interface, as part of the multilayer sandwich, the mechanical and thermo-mechanical mechanisms that induces whisker formation are both mitigated by novel properties of the nanotape.
I agree with many of the above observations and so while the technology may prove helpful in increasing board density, I will certainly not like my boards to fail 3yrs down the line because of wiskers. the material science for the board manufacturing needs to be customized for such new approachs as trying to hybridize traditional SMD tech with nanopads may and will have longivity related issues.
This sounds like an exciting advance in technology. I'll be very interested to hear the results of extreme environmental and life cycle testing to better understand the failure modes and the technology life expectancy. Also, how easily can items be "desoldered" if necessary?
Is this technology will result some chnages only to the IC packaging or also impact any PCB manufacturing process. What would be the cost impact of this technolgy on the final PCB assembly? Does this material stand higher temparatures than the normal Tin-Lead solder pads?
Well, apparently it is a flexible material, that should relieve some of the strain thought to be a cause of whiskers: "Using nanotape, however, will better cool hot spots by remaining compliant to the semiconductors as they expand and contract during heating." And since carbon is not a metal, I don't see how it can whisker.
But this is true, the technology has to be tested against this effect, since we can imagine the nanotubes will stress the alloy, and nothing is said about the alloy itself.
It is nice to raise this point.
Sounds interesting, but what will carbon nanotubes do for tin whisker formation? Tin whisker problems were reintroduced with the RoHS regulations banning lead in solder. From my limited work, carbon only accelerates whisker growth in tin alloys similar to bright tin deposits. Trust that someone will still raise millions to fund a "nano" solder venture w/o mentioning this fly in the ointment.
Tin whiskers, even without nano-carbon, will be killing a lot of equipment within 5 years of unit manufacture regardless of IC chip reliability. The recollection of operational 20 year old electrical appliances (TVs, computers, radios etc) will be a passing memory. DVD players are not lasting two years now.
Manufacturers may smile at the new built-in product obsolescence, but landfills will groan with the new flood of premature eWaste. We can do better.