8 June 2017

Liquid Metal to Increase the Lifetime of Microchips

The Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) ran from May 30 to June 2, 2017, in Florida. The Université de Sherbrooke excelled, winning the Outstanding Oral Session Paper of 2016 award.  The research chair, led by Chairholder Julien Sylvestre, of the mechanical engineering department at the Université de Sherbrooke and member of the group  True Industry-University Synergy for Technological Innovation), won with the paper Eternal Packages: Liquid Metal Flip Chip Devices. The other members from the UdeS were Assane Ndieguene and Pierre Albert, and other researchers who were also part of the group work for IBM in Bromont.

Valérie Oberson, co-auteure IBM du papier, lors de la remise de prix à Orlando

The research group is studying a new way of assembling microchips to improve the reliability of microelectronic components… so much so as to make them last forever. The idea is to extend the lifetime of electronic devices such as cellular phones and computers. Professor Julien Sylvestre explained that they are focusing on protecting the interconnections of these microchips, by re-questioning the paradigm of metals currently used; rather than these interconnections being in pewter, silver, copper, or an alloy of these metals, gallium is far more durable. Because it is in liquid form, which eliminates chances of breakage. To counter the problem of corrosion potentially caused by the gallium, the researchers are investigating protection made of tungsten.

The Université de Sherbrooke has reported that an application for a patent for this technology has been submitted, and that the technology will be compatible with current assembly processes. In addition, this method is not toxic, as it does not contain mercury or lead.

Every year the ECTC conference brings together more than 1000 professionals from the microelectronics assembly industry from all over the world and features more than 350 technical presentations over its four days.

Source: Université de Sherbrooke

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