Abstract

Insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) power modules are devices commonly used for high-power applications. Operation and environmental stresses can cause these power modules to progressively degrade over time, potentially leading to catastrophic failure of the device. This degradation process may cause some early performance symptoms related to the state of health of the power module, making it possible to detect reliability degradation of the IGBT module. Testing can be used to accelerate this process, permitting a rapid determination of whether specific declines in device reliability can be characterized. In this study, thermal cycling was conducted on multiple power modules simultaneously in order to assess the effect of thermal cycling on the degradation of the power module. In-situ monitoring of temperature was performed from inside each power module using high temperature thermocouples. Device imaging and characterization were performed along with temperature data analysis, to assess failure modes and mechanisms within the power modules. While the experiment aimed to assess the potential damage effects of thermal cycling on the die attach, results indicated that wire bond degradation was the life-limiting failure mechanism.

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