Lead (Pb) Free Program and RoHS Compliance Information

  • Our products ending with PBF are RoHS and WEEE compliant.
  • Matte Tin and gold are our Lead-Free terminal finishes.
  • Gold is used for our uModules package LGA interconnect.
  • All Matte Tin and gold products are marked with a special identifier on the top mark and labels.
  • Matte Tin or gold terminal finish is backward and forward compatible with the industry standard soldering conditions and solder paste for Leaded or Lead-Free terminal finish.
  • Availability of Solder Plated Products

See Below for Details

Selection of Matte Tin as a Lead (Pb) Free  Alternative

Even though LTC has evaluated other Lead (Pb) Free alternatives (e.g., Palladium Nickel Gold) a decision was made to use Matte Tin for the following reasons. Matte Tin represents the best drop-in replacement since it is the most cost effective solution, has a lower reflow temperature ~240°C, is compatible with reflow soldering processes using PbSn and SnAgCu solder pastes, has excellent solder ability performance, and based on LTC’s extensive qualification/reliability testing has excellent reliability performance.

Ordering Lead (Pb) Free Samples

Find the product page on our website and click “Request Samples” in the upper right corner, or contact the nearest LTC Sales Office.

Terminal Finish Part Marking

IPC/JEDEC Joint Standard J-STD-609A.01 defines various categories describing the terminal finish or solder ball material of components with symbols e0 through e9. LTC currently uses the following:


Pb-containing

e0 – contains intentionally added Pb


Pb-free

e1 – tin-silver-copper (SnAgCu) with silver content greater than 1.5% and no other intentionally added elements

e3 – tin (Sn)

e4 – gold (Au)

The symbol e0, e1, e3, or e4 is added to the product top marking of larger packages. The symbol e0, e1, e3, or e4 is marked on the same line as the date code or the trace code. There is no change to the line that contains the part number.

Lead (Pb) free packages that are too small to accommodate the e3, a "<" symbol is added to the device at the pin 1 location. Pb-free 2mm X 2mm and 3mm X 2mm packages are identified by rearranging the trace code marking of the device. These Pb-free marking indicators were implemented starting with date code 0514. However, we will continue to ship Pb-free product, from our existing stock, which was marked prior to 0514 without the indicator.

Refer to the photographs and table for information on Terminal Finish Part Markings.

These marks are solely to identify the type of terminal finish and do not reflect any change to the form, fit, or function of the products.

Electrical Performance and Datasheet

There is no difference in the electrical performance of the Pb Free devices compared to the original devices with solder plated terminal finish. Therefore, LTC will not need to issue new datasheets for Pb Free devices.

Recommended Lead (Pb) Free Reflow Profile

Matte Tin terminal finish can be soldered very well at 240°C to 250°C and does not require soldering above 250°C. Matte Tin finish terminal is backward and forward compatible with SnPb and SnAgCu solder paste. The soldering profile should conform to LTC’s recommended procedures for Surface Mount Products.

Products with Lead (Pb) Containing Die-Attach Solder

LTC builds a variety of packages, e.g., TO-220, SOT-223, DD Pak, etc. that use a lead (Pb) containing die-attach solder. This solder is exempt from current legislation due to the lack of a suitable replacement material, as defined in Article 4 of the EU Directive 2002/95/EC, Annex-section 7 (>85% lead, Pb, in high temperature melting point solders).

Availability of Solder Plated Products 

Solder plated terminal finish products are non-standard and contain SnPb. LTC does have many products available with a solder plated terminal finish, however, special terms and conditions and pricing applies compared to the lead free version. Please visit the specific product’s website page for more information.  New products, with the exception of products in a BGA package, are not released with a solder plated terminal finish. 

Summary of Matte Tin Qualification Data

Mitigation of Tin Whisker Growth

LTC has conducted extensive long-term storage tests, namely 85°C/85%RH temperature/humidity testing and ~50°C/~60%RH storage testing, and has found LTC's Matte Tin terminal finish to be reliable, with whisker growth less than the industry acceptable size of 30 to 50 microns. The 50°C/60%RH long-term storage test has been conducted on some packages for close to 5 years with acceptable results.

In addition to excellent reliability test results, LTC has implemented the following to further mitigate Tin Whisker Growth:

  • Maintain a minimum of 7.6 µm (300 µinches) tin-plating thickness; target 11.4 µm (450 µinches).
  • Minimize organic brighteners in tin-plating bath.
  • Plating anneal of 150°C for 1 hour immediately following the plating process. This anneal reduces stresses and promotes a more uniform growth of intermetallics.

Hermetic Packages Excluded from Lead (Pb) Free

Please be advised that Linear Technology is not currently offering Pb Free terminal finish on D, H, J, K and W hermetic packages. There is not enough demand for the Pb Free terminal finish on these packages to justify the dedication of resources to develop Pb Free terminal finish. At this point, we are not positioned to support small orders for these packages. However, any major business opportunities should be discussed with a Linear Technology Sales Representative to explore the Pb Free alternatives.

Note:  LTC has never used mold compounds containing Red Phosphorus, nor will we use them on these upcoming changes.