|Publication number||USRE38789 E1|
|Application number||US 10/022,683|
|Publication date||Sep 6, 2005|
|Filing date||Dec 17, 2001|
|Priority date||Jan 14, 1998|
|Also published as||DE19900364A1, US6023094, US6175162|
|Publication number||022683, 10022683, US RE38789 E1, US RE38789E1, US-E1-RE38789, USRE38789 E1, USRE38789E1|
|Inventors||Pai-Hsiang Kao, William Jeffrey Schaefer, Nikhil Vishwanath Kelkar|
|Original Assignee||National Semiconductor Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Referenced by (16), Classifications (21), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/517,603 filed Aug. 22, 1995 entitled, “Thermally Enhanced Micro-Ball Grid Array Package” by Rajeev Joshi having assignment rights in common with the present invention, which is herein incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates generally to integrated circuit (IC) devices and, more particularly, to a semiconductor wafer having a bottom surface that is coated with a protective coating prior to the performance of a wafer dicing, or die singulation, operation.
Currently, in order to remain competitive in the IC industry, IC process engineers must continuously increase device yield per wafer or lot. That is, process engineers seek to increase the number of usable semiconductor devices per wafer. Since any step in the fabrication process may detrimentally affect the IC device yield, process engineers seek to optimize each step and, as a result, reduce the number of lost IC devices for the optimized step.
For example, a conventional dicing, or sawing, process is one fabrication step that is likely to result in a substantial loss of devices. In general, when a wafer is diced, chipping may occur along the dicing edges of the individual IC devices. This chipping may then lead to the formation of cracks throughout the IC device, which cracking may damage the IC device and make the IC device unusable for its intended application. In other words, the chipping results in IC devices that are more vulnerable to stress and more susceptible to damage. As a result of an increase in unusable IC devices due to chipping, the IC device yield per wafer or lot is significantly reduced, and product reliability is compromised.
One type of IC device that may be chipped during the dicing operation is a flip chip device. During the dicing process, the flip chip device is cut away from the other flip chip devices of the wafer. The separated flip chip device may have, for example, rough edges as a result of the dicing process. After the flip chip device is separated from the other flip chip devices, the flip chip device is then packaged and/or mounted to a printed circuit board. As a result of chipping, the flip chip device may suffer various form of damage at any point subsequent to the dicing process. For example, the flip chip device may be damaged while it is being handled prior to mounting or packaging.
There are many problems associated with a conventional wafer that has conventional devices with exposed bottom surfaces. For example, one problem is the aforementioned chipping during the dicing operation. That is, the exposed bottom surface fails to provide sufficient mechanical protection under certain stress inducing conditions. The exposed bottom surface also fails to provide protection from electrostatic shock or light induced bias for flip chip applications. That is, the devices may have functional problems due to photogenerated carriers when the bottom surface (e.g., 104) of the die (e.g., 102) is exposed to light, or the devices may be subject to an undesirable electrostatic shock during handling of the device subsequent to the dicing operation.
The aforementioned problems all contribute to a decrease in production yield. Consequently, there is a need for an improved wafer that provides a solution to the aforementioned problems. For example, there is a need for an improved wafer that is less susceptible to mechanical stress during and after a dicing operation. Additionally, there is a need for a method for making such an improved wafer.
To achieve the foregoing and other objects and according to the purpose of the present invention, a packaged integrated circuit device is disclosed. The device includes a die having a plurality of electrical contacts on a first surface of the die and a protective film adhered directly to a back surface of the die, the protective film being thick enough to allow laser marking of the protective film without the laser penetrating to the die. In one preferred embodiment, the protective film of the device is a thick film formed by screen printing. In a preferred embodiment, the protective film has a thickness of between about 1.5 and 5 mils.
In another embodiment, a semiconductor wafer is disclosed. The wafer includes a multiplicity of semiconductor dies, and each die has a plurality of electrical contacts that are exposed on a first surface of the wafer. The wafer further includes a protective thick film adhered directly to a second surface of the wafer. The protective film is thick enough to allow laser marking of the protective film without the laser penetrating to the die.
In another aspect of the invention, a method of fabricating a semiconductor wafer having a wafer substrate with a top surface and a bottom surface and a plurality of dies is disclosed. The method includes providing a plurality of dies on the top surface of the wafer substrate. A plurality of electrical contacts are disposed on each die. The method further includes printing a thick film upon the bottom surface of the wafer substrate such that the thick film is thick enough to allow laser marking of the thick film without the laser penetrating to one of the plurality of dies. In a preferred embodiment, the printing act includes placing a screen across the bottom surface of the wafer substrate, where the screen has a first end and a second end that is opposite the first end, depositing a predefined amount of material at the first end of the screen, and dragging a squeegee from the first end to the second end of the screen such that the material is thinly deposited through the screen and across the bottom surface of the wafer substrate to form the thick film. In another preferred embodiment, the method further includes adhering a mounting tape to the thick film, and dicing the wafer such that the dies are separated from each other. The mounting tape is not an especially adhesive type tape.
In another embodiment, a method of fabricating a semiconductor wafer having a wafer substrate with a top surface and a bottom surface and a plurality of dies is disclosed. In this embodiment, the method includes providing a plurality of dies on the top surface of the wafer substrate, applying a thick film over the bottom surface of the wafer substrate, adhering the thick film to a mounting tape that is a UV type tape, and dicing the wafer to separate the dies. In this embodiment, the thick film reduces chipping along edges of the separated dies.
The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:
Methods and apparatus for protecting IC devices of a wafer during and after a dicing operation are described below. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be understood, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known process operations have not been described in detail in order not to unnecessarily obscure the present invention.
In general, the present invention includes a wafer having a protective film for substantially preventing damage to the dies of the wafer during and after the dicing process. For example, the protective film substantially prevents chipping along the dicing edges of the dies. Although the following description is in reference to flip chip devices, of course, it should be well understood to those skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to flip chip devices, but may be implemented on any device that has an exposed bottom surface during the dicing process, such as a flash memory device or a chip size package (CSP). One example of a CSP is a ball grid array package type, which package type is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/517,603 (Attorney Docket No. NSC1P073) filed Aug. 22, 1995 entitled, “Thermally Enhanced Micro-Ball Grid Array Package” by Rajeev Joshi having assignment rights in common with the present invention, and which is herein incorporated by reference.
The protective film 210 may be formed from any suitable material. For example, the protective film may be formed from a plastic material or epoxy. By way of example, Encapsulant EO 1016 from Dexter Hysol works well. This epoxy is commonly also used as a glob top material for chip-on-board applications that protects the die and wire bonds. The protective film may have any thickness that substantially prevents chipping during the dicing operation and is suitable for the particular application. For example, the protective film may have a thickness that allows laser marking of the thick film without the laser penetrating the thick film. Preferably, the protective film is between about 1.5 and 5 mils. Most preferably, the protective film is between about 2 and 3 mils.
A protective film (shown in
After a plurality of dies are provided, in operations 503 through 505 a thick film is printed onto the bottom surface of the wafer substrate. The thick film is applied by any application technique that is suitable for applying a thick film. For example, operations 503 through 505 describe a screen printing process. The screen printing process includes operation 503, in which a screen is placed over the bottom surface of the wafer substrate. Next, in operation 504 a predefined amount of material is deposited at a first end of the screen. In operation 505, a squeegee is dragged from the first end to the opposite end of the screen. As the squeegee is dragged across the screen, the material is deposited through the screen and onto the bottom surface of the wafer substrate. The predefined amount of material is enough to deposit the thick film across the wafer substrate such that the thick film is thick enough to allow laser marking of the thick film without the laser penetrating the thick film. Preferably, the amount of material is also not enough to result in a thick film that is thicker than about 5 mils. Most preferably, the amount is such as to result in a thick film that is between about 2 and 3 mils.
After the thick film is applied, in operation 506 a mounting tape is applied to the thick film. Since the mounting tape is applied over the thick film and the thick film adheres well to mounting tape that has a normal adhesiveness level, the mounting tape need not be extra adhesive, such as UV type tape. In other words, a UV type tape that is especially sticky and requires the application of ultraviolet light to release the tape from the wafer is not required. Preferably, a holding structure (or fixture) is utilized to protect the die and/or bumps during the application of the thick film. That is, the holding structure prevents the die and bumps from moving into another structure, such as the screen frame, while the thick film is being applied.
After the thick film is adhered to the mounting tape, in operation 507 the wafer is diced or sawed using conventional techniques. Any suitable cutting device may be utilized to separate the dies from one another. The cutting device must be hard enough to cut through the wafer and thin enough to cut along a thin scribe line between each die. For example, a thin diamond saw that rotates at around 30,000 rpm may be utilized to cut the dies apart.
After the wafer is diced into individual dies, the dies are packaged, or alternatively, mounted onto a printed circuit board (PCB). For example, the individual flip chip devices are inverted onto a PCB such that the bumps of the flip chip device are coupled with traces on the PCB.
The present invention has many advantages. For example, the protective film prevents chipping during the dicing process along the edges of each die.
Besides reducing chipping, the present invention has other advantages. By way of example, the reduction in chipping results in significantly less damage to the die as a result of stress cracks being formed from the chipped edges. Additionally, the protective film provides mechanical protection and reduces the likelihood of damage to the die during handling. The protective film also provides electrostatic protection, for example, during handling of the devices.
The protective film provides a surface that may be marked by a laser for identification purposes, for example. Also, a higher contrast mark is more possible on the protective film, as opposed to on a bare silicon bottom surface. Although the protective film is markable with a laser, the protective film is thick enough to not allow the laser to penetrate to the die below the protective film. That is, the protective film is thick enough to protect the die from laser damage. Also, the protective film provides protection from light induced bias. As a result of the light protection, it is less likely that light will cause any functional problems. Additionally, the protective film improves adhesion to a mounting tape, and thus, it is possible to use a mounting tape that is not especially adhesive and does not require a UV curing step to separate the mounting tape from the wafer. Thus, an extra process to cure the mounting tape is not required, and as a result, time and costs associated with the dicing process may be reduced. Also, since the protective film adheres well to the mounting tape, the number of dies that become unstuck from the tape and lost during and after dicing may be reduced.
Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims. For example, bumps may be disposed on the electrical contacts of each die subsequent to, rather than prior to, the operation of applying the thick film. Accordingly, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||257/632, 257/783, 257/797|
|International Classification||H01L23/544, H01L23/00, H01L21/56, H01L23/31, H01L23/58|
|Cooperative Classification||H01L2224/274, H01L2924/01068, H01L2224/16, H01L2223/5448, H01L23/562, H01L23/3157, H01L2223/54473, H01L21/56, H01L23/544|
|European Classification||H01L23/544, H01L23/31P, H01L21/56, H01L23/562|
|Aug 8, 2007||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Aug 8, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12