dm00103202

AN4428
Application note
Best practices in the manufacturing process
of MEMS microphones
Introduction
This application note serves as a reference concerning best practices in the manufacturing
process of MEMS microphones.These products have undergone thorough quality and
reliability testing as ST manufacturing processes have been carefully studied and
developed to achieve highly reliable devices. Section 1: Quality assurance details the
various tests performed on the microphones.
This document also provides recommendations to properly manage the microphones during
processes performed by the customer such as verification of the device upon reception,
proper handling of the device and production line considerations.
January 2014
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Contents
AN4428
Contents
1
Quality assurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1
2
Reliability tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.1
HTOL: high-temperature operating life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.2
HTS: high-temperature storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.3
PC (JL3): preconditioning (solder simulation) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.4
TC: temperature cycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.5
Electrostatic discharge (human body model, machine model,
charged device model) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.6
LU (CI): latch-up (overvoltage and current injection) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.1.7
THB: temperature humidity bias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.8
LTS: low-temperature storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.9
Repeated free-fall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.10
MS: mechanical shocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.11
VVF: vibration variable frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.12
MTC: moisture and temperature cycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1.13
Air compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.2
Final test information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.3
Pick-and-place settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.4
Pre-shipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Customer manufacturing considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.1
Customer handling recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.1.1
Contaminations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.1.2
Electrical overstress (EOS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.1.3
Mechanical overstress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.1.4
Cavity detachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Appendix A Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
3
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Revision history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
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List of figures
List of figures
Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
Figure 5.
Figure 6.
Figure 7.
Figure 8.
Figure 9.
Figure 10.
Figure 11.
Figure 12.
Figure 13.
Figure 14.
Figure 15.
Air compression test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Final test checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Pick-and-place machine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Picking area for 4 x 5 microphones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4 x 5 pick-and-place process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Picking area for 3 x 4 microphones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3 x 4 new design nozzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Picker mechanical details for HLGA 3 x 4 microphones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Actual pick-and-place nozzle used in ST manufacturing facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Back-end process flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Example of EOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Spike suppressor configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
MEMS sensor crack example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Cavity detachment example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Cavity ceiling detachment example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
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1
Quality assurance
1.1
Reliability tests
This section lists all of the reliability tests performed on the microphones.
1.1.1
HTOL: high-temperature operating life
The device is stressed in a dynamic configuration, approaching the operative max absolute
ratings in terms of junction temperature, load current, and internal power dissipation. This
test is intended to simulate the worst-case application stress conditions. The test is
performed to investigate typical IC failure modes like oxide faults and metal degradation and
to check overall IC parametric stability.
1.1.2
HTS: high-temperature storage
The device is stored in an unbiased condition at the maximum temperature allowed by the
package materials, sometimes higher than the maximum operative temperature. This test is
performed to investigate the failure mechanisms activated by high temperature; typically
wire-bond solder joint aging, data retention faults, and metal stress-voiding.
1.1.3
PC (JL3): preconditioning (solder simulation)
The device is submitted to a typical temperature profile used for surface mounting, after
controlled moisture absorption. This test is done to investigate in general the effect of
customer manufacturing soldering enhanced by package water absorption. As a standalone
test it is used to investigate the level of moisture sensitivity. As preconditioning before other
reliability tests it is used to verify that the surface mounting stress does not have an impact
on the subsequent reliability performance.
1.1.4
TC: temperature cycling
The device is submitted to cycled temperature excursions, between a hot and a cold
chamber in air atmosphere. This is done to investigate failure modes related to the thermomechanical stress induced by the different thermal expansion of the materials interacting in
the die-package system. Typical failure modes are linked to metal displacement, dielectric
cracking and molding wire-bond failure.
1.1.5
Electrostatic discharge (human body model, machine model, charged
device model)
The device is submitted to a high-voltage peak on all pins, simulating ESD stress according
to different simulation models. This test is needed to classify the device according to its
susceptibility to damage or degradation by exposure to electrostatic discharge.
1.1.6
LU (CI): latch-up (overvoltage and current injection)
This test consists of forcing a current into an input pin or requiring a current from an output
pin. Under these conditions, removing such a current, no change of the magnitude of the
supply current must be observed. This is done to verify the presence of bulk parasitic effectinducing latch-up.
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1.1.7
Quality assurance
THB: temperature humidity bias
The device is biased in static configuration minimizing its internal power dissipation, and
stored at controlled conditions (ambient temperature and relative humidity). This test is
aimed to investigate the failure mechanisms activated in the die-package environment
caused by electrical field and wet conditions. It is mainly oriented to highlight typical failure
mechanisms of IC in these conditions like electro-chemical corrosion.
1.1.8
LTS: low-temperature storage
The device is stored in an unbiased condition at the minimum temperature allowed by the
package materials, sometimes lower than the min. op. temp. This is useful for investigating
the failure mechanisms activated by extremely cold conditions for prolonged time.
1.1.9
Repeated free-fall
The device is subjected to repeated mechanical drops. This test is performed in order to
check the robustness of the MEMS microphone when subjected to repetitive mechanical
stress.
1.1.10
MS: mechanical shocks
The device is subjected to 10000 g / 0.1 ms, 5 shocks for each axis. It is intended to
determine the compatibility of the component(s) to withstand moderately severe shocks as a
result of suddenly applied forces or abrupt change in motion produced by handling,
transportation or field operation.
1.1.11
VVF: vibration variable frequency
The device is subjected to a vibration with peak acceleration 20 g, 20 Hz to 2000 Hz where
three perpendicular directions have been applied. The vibration variable frequency test is
performed to determine the effect of vibration, within a specified frequency range, on the
internal structural elements.
1.1.12
MTC: moisture and temperature cycling
The device is subjected to cycled temperature and moisture exposure. The test serves to
investigate device robustness against the combined stress of moisture and temperature
cycles.
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1.1.13
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Air compression
This test consists of applying high-pressure air into the sound inlet of the microphone. This
application of compressed air is repeated five times for 1 sec from different distances. The
test is performed using an air gun and its purpose is to check the robustness of the MEMs
membrane. The device passes the test if there is no variation of the sensitivity.
Figure 1. Air compression test
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Quality assurance
The results of the ST MEMS microphone in terms of reliability are indicated in the table
below. This table contains the data of the MP34DT01 used as an example.
Table 1. Reliability test results of the MP34DT01
Test name
Condition/method
Period or
frequency
Preconditioning
(Jedec Level 3)
Moisture Sensitivity 3
1 Week at < = 30°C/60%RH
Peak body temperature = 260°C
Reflow profile = J-STD-020C
Final
HTOL
Vdd(max) = 3.6 V;
Tamb = 125°C
JESD22a108
THB
HTS
168 H
500 H
1000 H
Vdd(nom) = 1.8 V
T = 85 °C / RH = 85%
JESD22a108
168 H
Ta = 120°C
JESD22a103
500 H
TC
Ta cycling: -40°C/+125°C
JESD22a104
LTS
Ta = -40°C
JESD22a119
500 H
1000 H
100 Cy
500 H
1000 H
ESD HBM
Voltage +/-2000 V
J EDEC / JESD22-A114E
-
ESD MM
Voltage +/-200 V
JEDEC/JESD-A115-A
-
ESD CDM
Voltage +/-500 V
ANSI / ESD STM 5.3.1 ESDA
-
Latch-up and
overvoltage
Current injection +/-200 mA overvoltage 1.5 x Vmax EIA/JESD78
-
Repeated
free-fall
Drops from height = 1 m IEC 60068-2-32
300 drops
MTC
Ta cycling: +30°C/+65°C RH=+90%/+93%
IEC 60068-2-30
144 H
MS
10000g/0.1ms
5 shocks for each axis MIL STD 883MIL
-
VVF
Vibration with acceleration peak 20G, variable frequency from 20Hz to
2000Hz; applied in three perpendicular directions for 16 minutes on
each direction, 48 min total
JESD22-B103B
48 min
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1.2
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Final test information
After production the microphone must be screened to avoid shipping failing parts to the final
customer. Both electrical and acoustic parameters are tested. First of all the microphones
are tested in terms of electrical behavior. The ASIC, on each pin, is rigorously analyzed to
find any occurrence of open circuit or shorts. Additionally the device is analyzed to check for
any evidence of current leakage. Finally, reference voltages and current consumption are
checked. Once the entire electrical parameters have been verified, the microphones are
screened in terms of acoustic performance. It is sufficient to test the sensitivity and the
frequency response in order to determine whether the microphone works properly or not.
The sensitivity can be used to determine if the membrane is damaged in which case the
THD, as well as the noise floor, is out of specification. Finally the sensitivity is checked
across the audio band.
Each microphone is tested according to the previously mentioned criteria to avoid shipping
failing parts.
Figure 2. Final test checklist
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1.3
Quality assurance
Pick-and-place settings
The process of assembly of the printed circuit boards is fully automated owing to dedicated
machines. Basically these machines are used for high-speed, high-precision placement of
electronic components, like capacitors, resistors, or integrated circuits onto the PCB. These
systems normally use pneumatic suction cups, and at the end, a nozzle accurately picks the
device from a predetermined area.
Figure 3. Pick-and-place machine
Suction cup
Nozzle
Device
AM17604v1
In the case of microphones, this process must be rigorously controlled since the position of
the nozzle, the force involved in the pick and place, and the mechanical parameters can
damage the structure of the microphone. Hence, a reference/safe pick area is defined for
each microphone depending on the dimension of the package.
The reference pickup area for the generic 4x5 top-port MEMS microphone is shown in
Figure 4.
Figure 4. Picking area for 4 x 5 microphones
Basically the safe area has been set in order to not pick up the component by the top of the
microphone sound port, thus preventing damage to the MEMS membrane or an incorrect
pickup and placement. Additionally this safe area has been dimensioned, considering the
tolerances of all the mechanical parameters involved in the process, i.e. position of the
sound inlet, microphone package dimensions and pocket dimensions.
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Figure 5. 4 x 5 pick-and-place process
Steel
nozzle
Device
Tape &
reel
AM17605 1
The nozzle for picking up a 4 x 5 microphone is commonly a steel picker with a cylinder
shape respecting the safe area indicated in Figure 4: Picking area for 4 x 5 microphones.
The vacuum port at the bottom side of the picker is a hole with a diameter of 1 mm.
The safe pickup area for the 3 x 4 microphone is almost the same but with different
dimensions due to the different package outline. As shown in the previous design, the
following area has been dimensioned, also considering the tolerances of all the mechanical
parameters involved in the process; i.e. position of the sound inlet, microphone package
dimensions and pocket dimensions. The 3 x 4 safe area is indicated in the following figure.
Figure 6. Picking area for 3 x 4 microphones
To optimize the microphone yield, a dedicated picker has been designed to fully fit the
allowable safe area; hence, the currently used nozzle for the 3 x 4 microphones has 4
vacuum holes for each corner (refer to Figure 7).
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Figure 7. 3 x 4 new design nozzle
This design ensures that the holes for the vacuum and the air blow are always away from
the porthole of the device (4 vacuum ports at the corner of the device). Additionally, the new
design has also a recess, in the form of a cross, allowing the porthole to be left always at
atmospheric pressure. Under these conditions, the membrane will not suffer any sudden air
disturbances during the picking or placing of the device in the tape and reel. Figure 8 shows
the detailed mechanical dimensions of the new picker, the positioning of the vacuum holes
and the width of the recess.
Figure 8. Picker mechanical details for HLGA 3 x 4 microphones
The safe areas of the 4 x 5 and 3 x 4 microphones are identical and differ only in the
dimensions. The safe area of the 4 x 5 microphones includes the safe area of the 3 x 4
microphones; hence, despite this difference, the 4 vacuum port nozzle can be used for both
microphone packages. The following figure shows the usage of the 4-hole picker in the ST
production line (finishing).
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Figure 9. Actual pick-and-place nozzle used in ST manufacturing facilities
AM17606v1
Finally, other parameters must be rigorously controlled for the proper handling of the device:
the force of the vacuum and the pressure of the nozzle on top of the microphone package.
The pressure of the nozzle depends on the velocity and the height during the picking of the
device but also depends on the force set for the placement of the nozzle on the safe area.
To correctly control the forces involved during the pick-and-place process, the following
indications must be respected:
 Do not allow more than 7 psi(a) vacuum force
 Usually the picker is set to a minimum distance from the component (100-200 µm)
 Recommended placement force on the safe area is below 500 g
1.4
Pre-shipment
The flowchart below represents the back-end process from testing to shipment. Basically
the devices are tested according to electrical and acoustic parameters (ATE), they are
placed in a tray, then they are placed in a reel using the automatic pick-and-place machine
and finally the microphones are packaged and shipped to the customer.
Figure 10. Back-end process flow
a. 1 kPa = 0.145 psi (lb/in²) = 0.0102 kgf/cm² = 0.0098 atm maximum allowed pressure on microphone package
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2
Customer manufacturing considerations
2.1
Customer handling recommendations
The purpose of this section is to summarize, for typical failures that can occur in the
customer’s production line, an explanation of the issue first and then to propose a solution
or even give a recommendation to avoid these failures, usually caused by mishandling of
the device.
2.1.1
Contaminations
When the component provides a PDM output that when listened to or measured shows poor
SNR performance or very noisy output, the issue is typically due to contamination of the
MEMS membrane.
Contamination during PCB sawing, during PCB cleaning or washing can occur in a
customer’s production line. Further contamination can happen during device soldering if a
vapor phase soldering process is used for the reflow or some soldering paste accidentally
drops inside the sound inlet.
To avoid these types of contaminations, the sealing of the sound inlet with foam/tape before
sawing to prevent dust from entering the microphone is recommended. As a matter of fact,
using a vapor phase soldering process must be avoided to prevent membrane damage and
contamination.
2.1.2
Electrical overstress (EOS)
When the component does not show any signal at the output or the output is tied to GND (or
to Vcc), most probably the ASIC has been submitted to an electrical overstress.
Electrical overstress is an unexpected electrical phenomenon, like a high-voltage discharge,
that can cause irreversible damage to the ASIC such as burned areas or voids in the silicon.
Figure 11. Example of EOS
To avoid this issue, it is highly recommended to verify the supply voltage vs. microphone
operative and max absolute voltage specifications, or also to verify the voltage ripple when
doing hot plug to testing jigs. A diode (spike suppressor) can be included in the testing
equipment using the following configuration.
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Figure 12. Spike suppressor configuration
A spike can also be caused by an electrostatic discharge. ESD can be a problem when
there is a wrong or poor connection of the operators or of the equipment to ground.
Additionally it must be carefully checked that ESD does not exceed the declared values of
the components. Improving ESD protection in the production line is highly recommended in
order to avoid this kind of issue.
2.1.3
Mechanical overstress
If the component sensitivity is excessively far from the specification value, most probably
the membrane has been damaged. Such damage is typically caused by a mechanical
overstress.
The ASIC in the component is working properly, but performing a visual inspection reveals
that the MEMS microphone membrane is damaged. The membrane can be affected by
cracks or voids due to heavy mechanical overstress. Such stresses can be caused by
multiple reasons. When the microphone is mounted on a module, it is important to control
the module assembly on the final equipment (typically a laptop). During the assembly the
screwdriver can hit the microphone damaging the membrane. In general, high shock events,
above 10,000 g, can happen at other instances during handling due to equipment design or
configuration. Mechanical shocks can also be caused by the pick-and-place equipment, for
example if the nozzle does not pick in the proper area or if the machine picks or places the
device with excessive force. Finally, also the usage of air to clean PCB can be dangerous if
the pressure is too high.
Figure 13. MEMS sensor crack example
MEMS crack
AM17607v1
To avoid the issues listed above, the customer must pay attention in setting the production
line parameters such as the path of the screwdrivers on the modules (if any) and carefully
set the equipment to avoid any kind of dangerous shocks. A further recommendation is
related to the pick-and-place equipment. ST strongly recommends using the nozzle with 4
vacuum holes specifically designed to minimize the issue related to mechanical
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place process must be controlled. High pressure (few bars) for long distances (few mm) can
make the part reach velocities around 3 to 5 meter / sec. In case of impact the resulting
shock can be much higher than 10, 000 g. During the picking process the picker is set to a
minimum distance to the component (100-200 µm). Conversely, regarding the placing
process, the recommended force must be set below 500 g. As a last recommendation, if
using an air gun to clean the PCB, ST recommends limiting the pressure of the air flow.
2.1.4
Cavity detachment
The malfunctioning of the device in terms of any audio parameter, sensitivity, SNR,
frequency response, THD, can be related to the detachment of the cavity.
The detachment of the cavity is a phenomenon where one a portion of the package is
detached. This can be caused by free-fall of components over a rigid surface from more
than 1 meter. Another possible reason is the cutting of the PCB if there is the need to
separate different sections of the board. Cavity detachment is typically caused by
mechanical overstresses but can also be caused by thermal stresses. As a matter of fact, if
the reflow profile differs from the standard one, the glue on the package can be weakened,
losing its fixing capability. As a last reason the detachment can be caused by a force
exceeding 2.5 g for tape removal (when tape is applied to cover the microphone inlet for topport devices).
Figure 14. Cavity detachment example
Figure 15. Cavity ceiling detachment example
To avoid detachment of the cavity, a good practice is to avoid any mechanical overstress as
listed in Section 2.1.3. Additionally, following the ST recommended reflow profile and
reducing the force to 1 kg for tape removal are further advised.
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Bibliography
AN4428
Appendix A
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Bibliography
1.
IPC/JEDEC J-STD-020D.1. Moisture/Reflow Sensitivity Classification for Non-hermetic
Solid State Surface Mount Devices
2.
STMicroelectronics - AN4211 Guidelines for soldering MEMS microphones
3.
STMicroelectronics internal document: Good Practice using MEMS microphone in
Production Line v1.31
4.
STMicroelectronics MP34DT01 reliability report
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Revision history
Revision history
Table 2. Document revision history
Date
Revision
09-Jan-2014
1
Changes
Initial release.
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