Printed, Flexible and Organic Electronics Report

Metal sintering die attach materials are a global growth opportunity

Die Attach Materials for Power Electronics in Electric Vehicles 2020-2030

Technologies, forecasts, and players for silver sintering, micro-silver sintering, Cu sintering, SAC and other solders, and transient liquid phase bonding materials


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This report investigates the market for various die and substrate attach materials used in power electronics in various electric vehicles. It builds a detailed quantitative model to forecast the addressable market size for die as well as substrate attach materials in various power electronic functions in all manners of electric vehicles. It also develops ten-year market forecasts, in value and mass, segmenting the market by material type. The materials considered herein include nano silver sintering, micro-silver sintering, Cu sintering, SAC and other solders, and transient liquid phase bonding materials.
 
The report provides a comprehensive view of the industry trends, looking at the trends driving the adoption of higher performance die attach materials; assessing how the packaging solutions including the die attach, the interconnect, and the cooling mechanisms are evolving to meet the more stringent needs of the industry; and examining the various existing and past implementations of power modules in leading electric vehicles on the market. The report also provides a comprehensive review of all firms offering metal sintering solutions around the world.
 
Background
The electric vehicle market is expanding. As a consequence, the market for power modules within all manners of electric vehicles is expanding. This, in turn, will translate into rising demand for materials, including die attach materials, used in power electronic packages and modules.
Our team has been researching the electric vehicle market for the past 15 years.
 
The power electronic technology itself is also changing. In this report, we first provide an overview and benchmarking of various semiconductor technologies (Si, SiC, GaN). Here, we consider the benefits of each material technology at the material and device level. We then outline their key target applications in terms of voltage and power requirements. We will highlight some of challenges facing wide-bandgap semiconductors. More specifically, we will argue that these new technologies are not a drop-in replacement for Si MOSFET or Si IGBT. Many package designs and driving schemes and circuits will have to adapted to enable the optimal use of these technologies. We will then consider the commercial rational for deploying SiC in high-range full-electric vehicle inverters even though SiC is, and is likely to remain, more expensive than Si even if, as is well underway, its production shifts to larger wafer sizes.
 
Of particular interest to this study is the trend of rising areal power densities which translate into higher operational temperatures. Indeed, the temperature is already pushed to 170C from 70C or so around early 2000s, and the industry wishes to push it further towards 250C.
This trend is partly aided by the transition towards wide bandgap materials such as SiC and GaN which can tolerate high operating temperatures. These materials will push the temperature bottleneck away from the device junction temperature to packaging materials. These materials will also enable smaller dies to handle large power levels, thus increasing the areal power densities. The combination of the trends towards high power density levels and efficient higher frequency operation (which shrinks passive component size) will result in smaller and more integrated power electronic packages. To accommodate this and other trends, the packaging technology will have to adapt and is adapting. Indeed, this trend will push many materials including most solders beyond their performance limits, thus opening the door to alternatives.
 
In this report, we will first examine how the interconnect technology is moving away from the classical aluminium wire-bonding, which (a) suffers from low thermal conductivity, (b) does not lend itself to double-sided cooling, and (c) is a common point of failure. We will review many alternative approaches including (1) Cu wire bonding on Cu metallized die pads; (2) Soldered/Sintered Cu leads/clips/pins w/ or w/o spacers; (3) Cu wire bonding to sintered buffer plates; (4) Metallized flexible (e.g., PI) film attachment with adhesives; and (5) Flex PCB attachment with metal sintering. Note that this topic relates to our attachment materials because it some implementations, for example, a sintered metal or a solder is deployed.
 
In next section we examine the limitations of solder technology as a die attach material. We consider the maximum operating temperature of various solder chemistries and show how the homologous temperature of solder technology, especially lead- and gold-free ones, are low, leading to high likelihood of failure as operating temperatures approach 175-200C. We then benchmark metal sintering vs various solder technologies, showing metal sintering can offer bulk-like melting temperatures, high thermal conductivity, and a relatively low CTE mismatch with copper. We also compare the price levels of various options.
 
We then review how metal sintering has been used or demonstrated by various companies including ABB, ST Micro, Semikron, Infineon, StarPower, Danfoss, Continental, Siemens, Microsemi, CRRC, Fuji Electronic, and Hitachi. Indeed, it is clear that most makers today have the ability to work with metal sintering technology.
 
We then provide an overview of inverter power modules used in various hybrid and full electric vehicles. The power module deployed by various vehicle manufacturer is, directly or by extension, examined. These overviews will include inverters used by General Motors, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Daimler, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Tesla, and so on. The module maker is also highlighted. This section highlights the various design and material choices made by each player in terms of substrate, cooling technology and design, die and substrate attach, and so on. Trends will become clear despite the fact that multiple designs exist and are proven to work with the current requirements. As stated before, these designs will evolve to keep in line with future requirements and emerging semiconductor technologies.
 
We will then cover the materials, process, and suppliers of metal sintering die attach pastes. We first discuss the key characteristics of pressured metal sinter pastes looking at sintering process conditions, the shear strength of the joints, and the relationship between sinter pressure and porosity of the sintered layer. We also highlight some equipment used in pressured sintering. We will further discuss how product form factor is evolving beyond just pastes towards pre-forms and dry transfer films to render metal sintering as much of a drop-in replacement as possible. Finally, we consider pressure-less sintering. here, we discuss typical challenges including the conventionally long sintering time and the difficulty of sintering large-area dies without forming too many drying channels.
 
We then focus on suppliers of Ag and Cu sintering pastes. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview convering companies Heraeus, Alpha Assembly, Namics, Kyocera, Bando Chemical. NBE Tech, Mitsubishi Materials, Indium, Henkel, Nihon Superior, Dowa, Nihon Handa, AmoGreen, Mitsui Mining, Hitachi Chemical, and others.
 
We then build a detailed forecast model. Our model first estimates the power levels and the die area used in each power module function in each vehicle type considered. Here, we consider chargers, inverters, DC/DC converters, and so on. Next, we develop die area forecasts as a function time. This is based on studies of multiple current implementations. In general, the die area is shrinking as dies become better able to handle higher power levels, enabling the use of smaller and fewer dies. Note that the rise of SiC technology will aid this process. This step will then allow us to build our addressable market forecasts for die attach materials in terms of material volume or mass. Next, we study various implementations to estimate the addressable volume market for the substrate-to-baseplate attachment. Here, we considered multiple factor including the larger areas, the thicker bondline, and the fact that not every power module implementation will require such an attachment. We then develop our market share projection by die attach technology for both die-to-substrate and substrate-to-baseplate uses. The die attach technologies considered include Ag nano sintering, Ag micron sintering, Cu sintering, SAC and other solder, and transient liquid phase bonding materials. Our model then develops material-specific ten-year forecasts in volume and in value.
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Table of Contents
1.PART I: INTRODUCTION TO KEY TRENDS IN POWER ELECTRONICS AND THEIR LINK TO DIE ATTACH TECHNOLOGY
1.1.Power electronics in electric vehicles
1.2.General shift in power switch technology
1.3.Power switch technology: a generational shift towards SiC and GaN
1.4.Benchmarking Si vs SiC vs GaN
1.5.SiC and GaN still have substantial room to improve
1.6.Where will GaN and SiC win?
1.7.New technologies offer lower loss and higher frequency operation
1.8.Impact of high frequency on size of passive components
1.9.The driving challenge for SiC and GaN: not a drop-in replacement
1.10.The commercial justification for SiC in EV applications (I)
1.11.Value chain for SiC power modules
1.12.Towards higher area power density and higher operating temperatures
1.13.Mega trend in power modules: increasing power density
1.14.Operation temperature increasing
1.15.Roadmap towards lower thermal resistance
1.16.Mega trend in power modules: increasing integration
1.17.Towards high-power IPM (intelligent power module)
1.18.Towards highly-integrated single-package solution at low power range
1.19.Traditional packaging technology
1.20.Non-thermal consideration in packages
2.PART II: HOW INTERCONNECT TECHNOLOGY IN POWER ELECTRONIC PACKAGING IS EVOLVING
2.1.Traditional packaging technology
2.2.Technology evolution beyond Al wire bonding
2.3.Al wire bond is a common source of failure
2.4.Al wire bonding remains strong in IGBT modules
2.5.Al wire bonding also used in SiC modules
2.6.Transition towards direct Cu lead bonding
2.7.Transition towards Cu pin bonding
2.8.Transition towards Cu wire bonding using Ag sintered buffer plates
2.9.Transition towards wireless flex film attached with Ag sintering
2.10.Transition towards metallized flex film attachment
2.11.Transition towards PVD metallization and photopatterning
2.12.Transition towards lead attach via soldered spacers
2.13.Transition towards direct Cu wire bonding on Cu metallized die pads
2.14.Toyota SiC
3.PART III: TECHNOLOGY EVOLUTION FOR THE DIE AND SUBSTRATE ATTACH PASTE
3.1.Die attach technology trend
3.2.Die and substrate attach are common failure modes in power devices
3.3.The limitations of solder die attach joints
3.4.The choice of solder technology
3.5.Why metal sintering?
3.6.Patent trends for metal sintering
3.7.Sintering can be used at multiple levels
3.8.Transition towards Ag sintering (Tesla 3 with ST SiC modules)
3.9.Transition towards Ag sintering (Semikron)
3.10.Transition towards Ag sintering (Infineon)
3.11.Transition towards Ag sintering (ABB)
3.12.Transition towards Ag sintering (Continental)
3.13.Transition towards Ag sintering (Siemens)
3.14.Transition towards Ag sintering (Danfoss)
3.15.Transition towards Ag sintering (StartPower, MiroSemi)
3.16.Transition towards Ag sintering (Fuji Electric, CRRC/Dynex)
3.17.Transition towards Cu sintering (Hitachi)
3.18.Innovations to extend the lifetime
4.PART IV: REVIEW OF CURRENT POWER MODULES IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES (HEV, PHEV, BEV)
4.1.Toyota Prius (2004-2010): power module
4.2.2008 Lexus power module
4.3.Toyota Prius (2010-2015): power module
4.4.Toyota Prius (2016 onwards): power module
4.5.Chevrolet 2016 Power module (by Delphi)
4.6.Cadillac 2016 power module (by Hitachi)
4.7.Hitachi suppliers many other vehicle markers
4.8.Nissan Leaf power module (2012)
4.9.Honda Accord 2014 Power Module
4.10.Honda Fit (by Mitsubishi)
4.11.BWM i3 (by Infineon)
4.12.Infineon: evolution of HybridPack and beyond
4.13.Infineon's HybridPack is used by multiple producers (SAIC, Hyundai, etc)
4.14.Tesla Mode S (discreet IGBT) and Model 3 (SiC module)
4.15.Others
5.PART V: METAL SINTERING DIE ATTACH MATERIALS, PROCESSES, AND SUPPLIERS
5.1.Pressured Ag sintered pastes: key characteristics
5.2.Sintering and pick-and-place machines
5.3.ASM SilverSAM: integrating sintering machine
5.4.Process steps for applying Ag sintered paste
5.5.Using film or preform vs paste
5.6.Using IR oven to speed up the process
5.7.Effect of time, pressure, and temperature on joint strength
5.8.Pressure-less Ag sintered pastes: key characteristics
5.9.Effect of substrate metallization on sintered joint shear strength
5.10.Nano vs Micro Particles in Ag sintering pastes
5.11.Suppliers of Ag sintered paste
5.12.Alpha: commercializing Ag nano sintering die attach paste
5.13.Heraeus: sintered Ag die attach paste
5.14.Dowa: nano Ag sintered die attach paste
5.15.Namics: Low temperature die attach Ag conductive paste
5.16.Namics: a variety of Ag die attach paste
5.17.Kyocera: mixed nano/micro pressure-less sintering die attach paste
5.18.Mitsubishi Materials: low temperature die attach Ag conductive paste
5.19.Henkel: Ag sintering paste¶
5.20.Toyo Chem: Sintered die attach paste
5.21.Bando Chemical: pressure-less nano Ag sintering paste
5.22.Amo Green: pressure-less nano Ag sintering paste
5.23.Other Ag nanoparticle sintered die attach paste suppliers (e.g., Bando and NBE Tech)
5.24.Nihon Hanada: Pressureless sintering
5.25.Heraeus and Nihon Handa cross license
5.26.Indium Corp: nano Ag pressureless sinter paste
5.27.Nihon Superior: nano silver for sintering
5.28.Hitachi: Cu sintering paste
5.29.Cu sintering: characteristics
5.30.Reliability of Cu sintered joints
5.31.Mitsui Mining: Nano copper pressured and pressure-less sintering under N2 environment
5.32.Transient liquid phase sintering: mid-level performance alternative?
5.33.SMIC: incumbent solder supplier
5.34.Some price info on Ag sintering, solder and TLPB
5.35.Mitsui Mining: Nano copper pressure-less sintering under N2 environment
6.PART VI: MARKET FORECASTS FOR DIE ATTACH MATERIALS IN ELECTRIC VEHICLE POWER MODULES
6.1.Power level (kW) of power modules in different EV sectors
6.2.Number of power module functions in different EV sectors
6.3.Number dies in power modules in different EV sectors
6.4.Electric vehicle forecast (2018 to 2028)
6.5.Die area forecasts (2018 to 2028) per unit by power electric function and electric vehicle type
6.6.Total power electronic die area forecasts segmented by electric vehicle type (2018 to 2029)
6.7.Addressable market size (in tones) for die and substrate attach (2018 to 2029)
6.8.Market forecasts (in tones) for Ag sintering paste in electric vehicle power electronics as die and substrate attach
6.9.Market forecasts (in million dollars) for Ag sintering paste in electric vehicle power electronics as die and substrate attach
6.10.Market forecasts (in million dollars and tons) for Cu sintering paste in electric vehicle power electronics as die and substrate attach
6.11.The evolution of different die attach paste technology between Nano Ag sintering, non-nano Ag sintering, SAC and other solders, Cu sintering, and Transient liquid phase bonding between 2018 and 2029
6.12.Die and substrate attach market forecast (2018 to 2030) in Tons and Value split by SAC and other solder, nano Ag sintering, non-Ag sintering, Cu sintering, and transient liquid phase bonding
6.13.Substrate attach market forecast (2018 to 2030) in Tons and Value split by SAC and other solder, nano Ag sintering, non-Ag sintering, Cu sintering, and transient liquid phase bonding
 

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