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Flip Chip Packaging of Wafer Level Encapsulated RF MEMS Tunable Capacitors

[+] Author Affiliations
Shawn J. Cunningham, Yvonne Heng, Nabeel Idrisi, Brad Nelson, John McKillop

Wispry, Inc., Irvine, CA

Paper No. IPACK2013-73222, pp. V001T06A002; 6 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems
  • Volume 1: Advanced Packaging; Emerging Technologies; Modeling and Simulation; Multi-Physics Based Reliability; MEMS and NEMS; Materials and Processes
  • Burlingame, California, USA, July 16–18, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5575-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Wireless handheld communications has identified significant benefits of tuning that include fewer dropped calls, increased battery life and improved user experience. The tuning can be part of the antenna, power amplifier (PA), filtering, or part of a fully integrated radio front end (FE). RF MEMS tunable capacitors have been integrated with 0.18 μm RF HVCMOS to address the need for tuning in wireless communications. These integrated, MEMS tunable capacitors are hermetically encapsulated at the wafer level, but the integrity of the encapsulation must be maintained during BEOL operations. The BEOL operations include shipping and handling, passivation coat and cure, solder bumping (screen printed or electroplated), backside grinding (BSG), dicing, and pick and place.

In this paper we will describe, the flip chip packaging of the wafer level encapsulated MEMS devices including finite element analysis. The flip chip packaging of ASIC die is primarily concerned with solder bump reliability during such qualification stresses as temperature cycling and drop testing. The flip chip packaging of a wafer level encapsulated MEMS device has additional concerns that include encapsulation integrity and device package sensitivity. The die thickness, underfill, and encapsulation dimension have been varied to minimize the deflection and stress associated with the encapsulation. The primary failure mode associated with the overstress of the encapsulation is a cracked lid that will lead to the ingress of moisture and a rise in the cavity pressure from to atmospheric conditions. The failure can be detected by an increase in the MEMS switching time and frequency response or by a return to zero failure (RTZ) associated with device stiction. A low modulus and low CTE UF has been implemented for the lowest deflection and stress. The lowest deflection and stress is provided by eliminating the UF, but this is not feasible for the purpose of solder bump reliability.

In practice, the MEMS encapsulation is robust to the printed solder bumping process that includes placement and removal of the bump screen and the squeegee of solder past into the solder screen. The MEMS encapsulation is robust to the attachment and removal of BSG tape and the pressures associated with BSG. The final dicing operation has not demonstrated any detrimental impact on the MEMS encapsulation. The final demonstration of success is the assembly of the MEMS tunable capacitor die to a laminate substrate using lead-free solder and underfill.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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