Variable Frequency Microwave Reflow of Lead-Free Solder Paste
Reid, Pamela Patrice
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As the world moves towards eliminating lead from consumer products, the microelectronics industry has put effort into developing lead-free solder paste. The major drawback of lead-free solder is the problems caused by its high reflow temperature. Variable frequency microwave (VFM) processing has been shown to allow some materials to be processed at lower temperatures. Issues addressed in this study include using VFM to reduce the solder reflow temperature, comparing the heating rate of different size solder particles, and comparing the reliability of VFM reflowed solder versus conventionally reflowed solder. Results comparing the effect of particle size on the heating rate of solder showed that the differences were negligible. This is due in part to the particle sizes overlapping. Many lead-free solder pastes reflow around 250℃. Results indicate that when using the VFM, lead-free solder paste will reflow at 220℃. The reliability of solder that was reflowed using the VFM at the reduced temperature was found to be comparable to solder reflowed in a conventional manner. Based on these findings, VFM processing can eliminate the major obstacles to making lead-free solder paste a more attractive option for use in the microelectronics industry.