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High Strength Gold Wire for Microelectronics Miniaturization

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a high strength gold wire for use in microelectronics that can maintain its electrical and mechanical properties while permitting miniaturization of microelectronics design.


Gold alloy wires currently used in microelectronics have limited electrical and mechanical properties due to elemental alloy addition limitations, and efforts to overcome these drawbacks have so far lead to wires that are too brittle or have insufficient conductivity to be practical. Reduction in microelectronic design is thus constrained. For example, wire currently available for use in microelectronics is limited to a wire bondable length of 100 times the wire diameter: lengths greater than this cause the wire to slump under its own weight as a result of low strength. The wire bondable length can therefore not be increased without increasing the diameter of the wire while decreasing wire thickness to reduce weight sacrifices maximum. Researchers at Iowa State University have developed a method for producing gold alloy wire for use in microelectronics that is stronger than currently available wire. This high strength wire can be produced with a diameter smaller than that of conventional wire, yet maintains its mechanical and electrical properties. This innovation will help facilitate microelectronics miniaturization and the development of smaller and lighter weight electronic devices with greater design flexibility.


Enables significant reduction in diameter compared to commercially available gold alloy wires; Facilitates the miniaturization of microelectronics.

Applications and Industries


Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 5,915,160
High strength gold wire for microelectronics miniaturization and method of making the same
High strength gold wire for use in microelectronics and a method of producing the same are disclosed. In the methods of the present invention, a gold alloy having gold and a dilute rare earth (RE) element is produced. Next, the gold alloy is atomized into a powder. The dilute RE element is at least partially oxidized during atomization. Then, the powder is consolidated into an oxide dispersion strengthened gold billet. Finally, gold wire is formed from the oxide dispersion strengthened gold billet. The high strength gold wire can be drawn to a diameter less than conventional gold wire, while still maintaining mechanical and electrical properties, thereby facilitating microelectronics miniaturization.
Ames Laboratory 06/22/1999
Technology Status
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