Book Reviews

Lead-Free Electronic Solders
A Special Issue of the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics
By K.N. Subramanian, Editor

This 375-page text is more a collection of papers than a book, but its specific focus is on lead-free material science and is ideal for engineers. It is for the person who wants to go past the alloy types and understand the elements and their interactions during the assembly process and potential joint reliability.

All papers were produced for a special issue of the Journal of Materials Science, Materials in Electronics. The publisher felt this would make a valued contribution to the wider marketplace, and I agree. There is a fair amount of duplication in the text on the whys of lead-free, but this does not detract from the final compilation. The main part of the text is devoted to soldering materials, with all the most common alloys illustrated and supported with mechanical data and phase diagrams.

Researchers from the chemical engineering department of Tsing Hua University outline most of the common alloy data gathered from a wide source of papers and reports. They compare the information and highlight differences in the available data. Where possible, they suggest where more investigations are necessary for a better understanding of each material set.

Laura Turbini provides a chapter on soldering materials and their possible impact on corrosion at elevated temperatures. Because of her long interest and research work into Conductive Anodic Filament CAF formation, this is covered with good examples of the way in which this form of electrical short can occur. It has been demonstrated in many studies that, where greater stress is put on laminate, it is possible for separation of the glass and epoxy bundles to open up a path for CAF formation. However, some simple design rules often are not used to increase product reliability.

A paper by Darrel Frear of Freescale outlines well the issues facing consumer electronics, and the most common or potential failure modes. The text is well illustrated with examples of typical joints and solder interface structures. Care is taken to discuss one of the most challenging tests with lead-free alloy drop testing. A draft standard from the IPC/JEDEC is available as a second source of information.

Other chapters consider tin whiskers, tin pest, electromigration in lead-free solder joints, and the impact of RoHS on high-performance electronics. The paper on high-performance products is split into two sections and authored by Karl Puttlitz and George Galyon. It covers other interconnection methods that may be impacted by RoHS. Karl, originally with IBM, is now working as a consultant after his retirement; he co-edited other excellent books on lead-free and BGA when he was still at IBM.

This is not a holiday read for most people, but there is a lot of value in the information to research and process engineers who want to go deeper into the subject.

In the publishing industry there are many charts and awards for the best selling books, but with sales in the tens and hundreds—not thousands—it would be impossible to have a sales chart for technology handbooks. So, here is a list of "Bob Willis' Top Ten" reference books that has been updated to take into account recent changes in technology.

This list does not indicate the number of sales of any one title, the age or up-to-date nature of the text, only my opinion on the "must have" engineering titles for your office bookshelf. Remember: Generally no new problems in manufacture exist; most have been seen before by someone.

This list does not indicate the number of sales of any one title, the age or up-to-date nature of the text, only my opinion on the "must have" engineering titles for your office bookshelf. Remember: Generally no new problems in manufacture exist; most have been seen before by someone.

Good reading until next time.

  • Printed Circuit Handbook (5th Edition)
    Clyde Coombs, Jr.
    McGraw Hill

  • Electronic Failure Analysis Handbook
    Perry L. Martin
    Mc Graw Hill

  • Microelectronics Packaging Handbook (1st Edition)
    Tummala and Rymaszewski
    Van Nostrand Reinhold

  • Comprehensive Guide to Design, Manufacture of Printed Board Assemblies
    Bill MacLeod Ross
    Electrochemical Publications

  • Quality Assessment of Printed Circuit Boards (Out of print)
    Preben Lund
    Bishop Graphics Inc.

  • Reflow Soldering Processes and Troubleshooting
    Ning Cheng Lee

  • SMT for PC Board Design (2nd Edition)
    James Hollomon
    Prompt Publications

  • Soldering in Electronics (2nd Edition)
    Klein Wassink
    Electrochemical Publications

  • Ball Grid Array Technology
    John Lau
    McGraw Hill

  • Flexible Circuit
    Joe Fjelstad
    Electrochemical Publications

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ImageBy Sjef van Gastel, Marina Nikeschina, Rita Petit
Published by RTFB Publishing
7 chapters, 230 pages

When you pick up this book for the first time its print quality, illustrations and feel are great but it's the content that counts. If you just flick through the book quickly you may dismiss it, but don't. Read a couple of sections if you have the opportunity. I would strongly suggest that the publisher makes a few pages available online to tempt the potential customer, not just the usual overview.

The chapter "Application Analysis" is very interesting and many consultants charge a lot for this information. Basically the authors have analysed products from different market sectors, consumer, phones, computers, and communications, industrial and automotive. They have looked at the board size, component count, number of component types, type of component and pitch. This analysis allows them to look at the requirements of production equipment today and in the future. You could also define most other production equipment, not only placement, with this approach. It is, however, the same methodology that most process engineers use to select equipment.

A section covers the issues surrounding 0201 and even 01005 chip components, their justification and use in design plus the issues they will bring in manufacture. 0201 will become a reality for engineers in the next few years so the more information and experience that can be gained will set you in good stead for the future. To date this reviewer has not seen many issues with 0201 assembly; just lucky with his initial design rules. We will be running 01005 parts in the near future with lead-free, hopefully we can gather useful information from the chapter and see the outcome.

There is also a fair bit of coverage on advanced assembly like chip scale and flip chip assembly. This outlines the requirements of design, process and quality, in this case focusing on the impact of resist open and closed pads. The conclusions in this section provide specific recommendations for equipment accuracy based on the trials outlined. With the increasing availability of bare die, flip chip starts become a possible reality in mainstream assembly.

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ImageEdited by Richard Ulrich and Leonard Schaper
14 chapters, 370 pages

I met Richard Ulrich for the first time this year and he is very enthusiastic about the use of embedded technology I enjoyed the last part of his workshop at APEX. We hope to have him present a workshop in the UK with NPL in the near future. I believe this is the first text book to cover this development in PCB technology, no doubt there will be more like the conferences and other infrastructure that is growing up to support it.

A strong point that Richard and his co-editor state is that this is still an evolving technology and it will continue to do so over the next few years. Richard is firmly of the opinion that resistor technology and the use of conductive inks will be the first process to be actively used. This is covered in his live "Engineering Spotlight" interview feature for the SMART Group web site

The book covers each of the technology options, conductive polymers, capacitor techniques, integrated inductors, electrical performance, design and economics. There are guidelines on some of the design issues with fundamental information on capabilities and the PCB fabrication requirements. The chapter on the economics does give two case studies comparing conventional technology and the use of embedded resistors. A second case study is based around one of the NEMI projects.

A key point raised is the need for design tools and simulators. Inevitably these will come but there has to be a demand for time spent to develop tools for this technology. The basic material and their capabilities are known but not what happens during the fabrication and assembly stages. This comes from manufacturing experience in manufacture or funded research projects; it's that cart and horse thing again.

Sorry to Richard for scribbling notes over his book but thanks for autographing it; when he is rich and famous I may be able to sell the book to a fan.

Interactive Guide to Flexible Circuit Technology
Produced by Teknoflex

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ImageBy Karl Puttlitz and Paul A Totta
Publisher Kluwer Publishing
28 chapters, 1200 pages with photographs, illustrations and diagrams
ISBN 079237919 5

This is just a great text book but it has been kept a big secret to this reviewer, I have seen no reference to it since its launch, where was the marketing?

The first major book on Ball Grid Array Technology was written by John Lau in 1995 and I remember reading the book during a trip in Finland. This book is twice the size and written by engineers who lead the way in area array design, manufacture and assembly, IBM. Some engineers may think all the issues are done and dusted with BGA, they are not and here is the reference for you if you are new or a seasoned engineer. There is of course the issue that area array has a far wider scope than just the ball grid array parts that many engineers are familiar with.

The number of contributing IBM authors is very impressive Marie Cole is featured which is good news. The text is very well illustrated and provide a unique insight into the processes and procedures used within the organisation on component production and assembly. There are lots of nice tips to consider and possibly use in your own facility; learning from others that have already solved problems is always useful.

There is an excellent chapter on underfill and flip chip jointly written by IBM, Dexter and Motorola. This steps the reader through the materials, process and assembly stages and reliability assessment. There are examples of the type of equipment that can be used to assess effective assembly with some intriguing failure modes.

I guess the enthusiasm for the title comes across in the review; it's just disappointing that this title has not got the exposure since its first release. Sorry to John Lau but I have had to add this to my top ten books for this year but he has been in the chart since 1999.

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