Knowledge Base

Everything you need to understand plasma technology all in one place.

Knowledge Articles

Reliable solutions for reducing wire bonding failures

Henniker Plasma, presents the latest and most reliable solutions for reducing wire bonding failures.

henniker plasma citation news

Wire bonded silicon chip

Wire bonding is a technique used when creating electrical interconnections between semiconductors, integrated circuits and silicon chips using fine wires. These delicate wires carry the information to the electronic chip.  If they fail, the effectiveness of the interconnections between the electronic parts become compromised. Wire bond failure is a major concern for many semiconductor and electronics manufacturers.

Presence of Contamination is a Common Cause of Wire Bonding Failure

Bond Pad Contamination

Wire bond failure can occur when the fine wire bonds are unable to connect efficiently to a bond pad. Halogen and silicone contamination can cause corrosion and impede adhesion. The formation of corrosion by-products can also become damaging, especially if present at the time of bonding.

henniker plasma typical wire bond diagram

Diagram of a typical wire bond

 Lead Frame Contamination

The lead frames used in the semiconductor device assembly process need to be completely contaminant free. Contamination on the contact surfaces of lead frames can cause a reduction in the quality and provide insufficient bond formation which ultimately impedes adhesion, resulting in complete failure of the whole integrated circuit.

semiconductor lead frame for electronic chip

Cu (Copper) lead frame

Plasma Cleaning Solutions

Plasma cleaning is regarded as something of an industry standard for wire bonding, efficiently removing organic contaminants and thin oxide layers under high throughput conditions, quickly, efficiently, and reproducibly, greatly enhancing yield and reducing bond failures.

Henniker Plasma is the leading UK manufacturer of plasma treatment systems for cleaning, surface activation to improve adhesion, and functional nano-scale coating. Henniker’s systems are known for their reliability and delivery of ultra-fine surface preparation.

Henniker plasma product range plain

The Henniker Plasma range

Plasma Cleaning Process

Plasma cleaning can be applied as an in-line solution e.g., prior to encapsulation, or as a batch processing step, with bespoke frame loading arrangements.

Batch processing involves parts being loaded into a plasma chamber. The process is quick and effective, taking no more than 5mins to complete the treatment.

henniker plasma batch process hpt 300

Batch processing in a Henniker HPT-300 system

Alternatively, an atmospheric plasma torch system, such as Henniker’s Cirrus unit, can be integrated into an in-line assembly and fully controlled by the host system to achieve localised bond-pad treatment.

heninker plasma atmospheric plasma electronics board

Henniker atmospheric system ‘Cirrus

Plasma cleaning utilises oxygen, argon, hydrogen, or mixtures of these gases. Combinations of these gases are suitable for nearly every case, however there are considerations such as the dulling of lead-frames when using oxygen, or the re-deposition of metal particles in the case of argon, as well as safety concerns when sing hydrogen. Henniker have developed a simple, low-cost alternative method based on plasmas generated using water vapor, which effectively removes contamination and reduces oxide layers without any potential drawbacks.

henniker plasma copper coin 50 50 water vapour treated

50:50 Water vapor plasma treated coin

Wire Bond Test Results

Following plasma treatment, wire bond strength is evaluated using both Destructive Pull Tests (DPT’S) and Non-Destructive Pull Tests (NDPT’s).

The results below compare pull strengths for different cleaning methods and clearly demonstrate both the significant bond improvement and the reduction in variability that can be achieved using plasma cleaning.

henniker plasma wire bond pull strength test

Comparison of the effect of different cleaning methods on the pull strength of wire bonds using Henniker’s HPT-300 plasma system

Real-world Application – Solid State Supplies

Henniker’s plasma systems have been in operation at ‘Solid State Supplies’ manufacturing facility in UK for a number of years. Solid State Supplies offer end-to-end solutions for optoelectronic and display assemblies.

henniker plasma wire bond before after plasma treatment

Before and after plasma treatment

“Wire bond failure rates have been extremely low while the Henniker Plasma cleaner has been in operation at Solid State. Operation of the machine has been trouble-free with excellent reliability.”

To learn more about wire bonding and plasma treatment contact us today.


See what our customers have to say

  • "The technical team at Henniker are very knowledgeable and supportive and always approachable. I have found it a pleasure to work with them."

    Simon Baxter - BAE Systems, MAI

  • "Henniker guided us to choose the most suitable plasma unit for our application, ensured an accelerated delivery time & guided us through the very easy setup. We obtained quality results with their unit within minutes of setup & consistent results thereafter. The support they have provided has been rapid and helpful."

    Dr Ravi Desai - Making Lab, Francis Crick Institute

    Francis Crick Institute
  • "Henniker provided our team with excellent service during the course of our work together, the plasma cleaner arrived quickly and was installed with ease, giving us visible results from the outset and confirming that we made the right decision in choosing a local UK manufacturer."

    Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis BSc MRSC - Queen’s University Belfast

    Queens Uni Belfast
  • "Our customers and operations demand reliability at every level and were a key factor in our decision to choose a UK based manufacturer of plasma treatment equipment."

    Tom Doak - Trak Microwave

    Queens Uni Belfast
  • "Henniker’s after sales support is first class. They have always been extremely responsive if we have ever had need to call on them."

    Steve Rackham - Teledyne

  • "Henniker’s plasma systems have delivered tangible benefits to us right from day one. The team there are very easy to work with."

    Ian Bruce - Coopervision

  • "Henniker really stood out, both in their product range and technical knowledge. They are a great company to work with."

    Karthik Nair - University of Bradford

    University of Bradford
  • "We are very impressed with the ease of use and reliability of our plasma unit and were producing results within minutes of setting it up."

    Dr Neil Wilson - Warwick University

    Warwick University
  • "Our collaborative work with the team at Henniker was a very positive experience and one that we look forward to developing further."

    Ewen Kellar - TWI

  • "Henniker provided a tailored product to match our exact requirements. They are a pleasure to work with."

    Dr Will Shu - Heriot Watt University

    Heriot Watt University

  • Huf
  • Kingspan
  • BOC
  • Maclaren
  • Cambridge Uni
  • Warwick Uni
  • Morgan Ceramics
  • QMUL
  • University Bradford
  • BAE
  • Imperial College London
  • Heriot Watt Uni
Henniker Plasma Logo

ISO logo



Connect with us

Henniker 3 Berkeley Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1TQ, UK

+44 (0)1925 830 771   +44 (0)1925 800 035