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Palomar and Fraunhofer IISB Partner on Research Initiative for Power Module Packaging

November 24, 2020 by Alessandro Mascellino

Microelectronic manufacturer, Palomar, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB) have come together to pursue a research initiative aimed at the development of packaging for power electronics.

Researchers and engineers from Palomar Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute are working to create new processes and solutions in the area of high-quality, void-free power modules. The partnership will focus on applications related to solder materials and processes for electronics in the automotive industry.


Packaging Technologies located in the Fraunhofer IISB Cleanroom. Image used courtesy of Palomar and Fraunhofer IISB. 
Packaging Technologies located in the Fraunhofer IISB Cleanroom. Image used courtesy of Palomar and Fraunhofer IISB

Fraunhofer IISB’s work mainly revolves around applied research and the development of electronic systems for applications in a variety of fields.

These include electric mobility, aerospace, Industry 4.0, power grids, and energy technology, covering the value chain from basic materials to whole power electronic systems.

Palomar Technologies, on the other hand, specializes in the supply of automated microelectronic assembly machines and contract assembly services.

The company particularly components related to supplies precision die attach, wire bonding, and vacuum reflow processes.

“The packaging technologies are essential for cost-effective and reliable power electronics,” said Andreas Schletz, head of the department for devices, packaging, and reliability at Fraunhofer IISB. “They offer the potential for improvements in every single domain. This cooperation will allow us to create significant progress in the field of solder materials and processing.” 

As part of the new partnership, Palomar will now deploy one of its SST 8301 Automated Vacuum Soldering System machines, which offers bond technology for soldering and/or sintering processes, within the Fraunhofer IISB’s building in Erlangen in Germany. 

The SST 8301 will be available to Fraunhofer personnel for demonstrations, prototypes, and research projects focusing on power electronics such as dies to DBC, connectors/pins to DBC, and DBC to base plate soldering. 

The entire process related to the new experimentation project will take place in a single chamber with a single process profile.

However, Fraunhofer IISB clarified it will be possible to expand the setup with additional chambers as production capacity increases.


The SST 8301 Automated Vacuum Soldering System. Image used courtesy of Palomar


Power Module Packaging for Electric Vehicles

According to Fraunhofer IISB, the SST 8301 would currently be the only solution to use both vacuum pressure and pressure above atmospheric, serving to drive voids close to zero. 

This technology thus circumvents the issue of voiding and thermal mismatches with the larger surface area attachments in the critical DBC to the Baseplate joint. 

The SST 8301 is also capable of reliable fluxless soldering with less than one percent voiding, substantially improving yield throughput.

To enhance its capabilities, the automated vacuum soldering system integrated a series of additional modules and features:

  • A QuikCool auxiliary cooling unit designed to rapidly reduce the temperature of the target plate to enable a faster production process. 
  • A Cartesian gantry automation robot tasked with moving part carriers from conveyors to/from the chamber.
  • Unique edge heating elements developed to enable the chamber achieve temperature uniformity over the entire thermal process area.
  • The user-friendly Windows-based software makes it easier for operators to use the machine and for programmers to develop profiles and perform real-time process analysis

The SST 8301 is typically used for applications with IGBT modules, power module assembly, Die Attach for Pressure Sensors, and more.

For more information about this automated vacuum soldering system, you can request its related datasheet from Palomar’s website here