In the assembly of integrated circuit packages to printed circuit boards, a head-in-pillow defect (HIP or HNP) is a failure of the soldering process. For example, in the case of a ball grid array (BGA) package, the pre-deposited solder ball on the package and the solder paste applied to the circuit board may both melt, but the melted solder does not join. A cross-section through the failed joint shows a distinct boundary between the solder ball on the part and the solder paste on the circuit board, rather like a section through a head resting on a pillow.
The defect can be caused by surface oxidation or poor wetting of the solder, or by distortion of the integrated circuit package or circuit board by the heat of the soldering process. This is particularly a concern when using lead-free solder, which requires higher processing temperature.
Since the warping of the circuit board or integrated circuit may disappear when the board cools, an intermittent fault may be created. Diagnosis of head-in-pillow defects may require use of X-rays or EOTPR (Electro-optical terahertz pulse reflectometry), since the solder joints are hidden between the integrated circuit package and the printed circuit board.
- Scalzo, Mario (2009-06-12). Schröter, Anke (ed.). "Addressing the Challenge of Head-in-Pillow Defects in Electronics Assembly". PCB. Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
- Alpha (2010-03-15) [September 2009]. "Reducing Head in Pillow Defects - Head in pillow defects: causes and potential solutions". 3. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
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