Moisture Sensitivity Level Testing

Some plastic encapsulated semiconductors are highly sensitive to moisture. If moisture gets trapped inside one of these devices and expands when heat is applied, a number of problems can arise. Compounding the potential for problems is the fact that semiconductors increasingly are being manufactured in smaller sizes. Components such as thin fine-pitch devices and ball grid arrays are especially prone to damage from the expansion of trapped moisture during SMT reflow. Most of this damage isn’t visible on the surface. It occurs internally. The plastic can separate (delaminate) from the die or leadframe, the die itself or the wire bond can be damaged, and internal cracks can develop. In extreme cases, cracks will extend to the surface of a component. And sometimes, if cracks become severe, the component will bulge and pop, a condition referred to as “the popcorn effect.”

Because of all this, the electronics industry has established a Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) standard. It relates specifically to the way semiconductors are packaged and handled. What it sets is the time period during which a moisture-sensitive device can be exposed to ambient room conditions before problems start to develop. The industries we serve, and indeed all industries that make use of electronic devices, regularly conduct Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) Testing.

Our clients look to us for help with their MSL Testing because we use C-mode scanning acoustic microscopy (C-SAM®). It’s particularly effective in capturing internal changes as parts are tested to different moisture sensitivity levels.

The products most often submitted to us for MSL Testing are… 

  • PEMs (plastic encapsulated microcircuits) such as TSSOPs, SOICs, PLCCs, MSOPs, PQFPs/TQFPs, PDIPs, BGAs/FBGAs, and SOTs as well as
  • hybrid devices. 

The standards we follow when using our C-SAM® process are… 

When you contract with us for help with your MSL Testing, we also provide you with… 

  • a quick turnaround,
  • a detailed yet concise pass/fail report that notes all defects discovered,
  • a certificate of conformance, and
  • a CD that includes all images taken during the tests. 

Beyond that, we offer you the same professional collaboration and competitive pricing that complete the benefits of partnership we extend to every AcousTech client.

Questions? Contact AcousTech. We’ll be happy to explain more about how our services can be of use in your MSL Testing. And when you’re ready, be sure to Request a Quote.

C-SAM® is a registered trademark of Sonoscan, Inc.