THAT Corporation's IC products meet the European Union's RoHS 2 standards for lead-free semiconductors. This section of our web site is designed to answer your questions about our implementation of the RoHS 2 standard.
THAT Corporation defines "Lead-Free" to mean semiconductor products that are compatible with the requirements of the European Union's Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment 2011/65/EU of June 8th, 2011.
THAT Corporation's RoHS 2 Policy
All ICs made since the start of 2004 are available only in RoHS 2-compliant packages. THAT's RoHS 2-compliant packaging is compatible with both conventional (Sn-Pb) soldering as well as most lead-free solders. All pre-existing products are now available in lead-free (RoHS 2-compliant) packages.
About Lead in Electronic Assemblies
Many countries have determined that lead (Pb) in electronics assemblies can pose an environmental hazard when such assemblies are scrapped. This is a large part the European RoHS 2 initiative. Japan and others have restricted the use of lead as well. These countries have set dates after which lead will no longer be allowed in electronics assemblies. On the other hand, the USA and many other countries have not taken this action.
Where Does The Lead Come From?
Until recently, most electronic components have tin-lead (Sn-Pb) alloy as a surface finish on their leads ("legs" or "pins"). Semiconductor companies, like other component makers, must offer Pb-free versions of their products or face being "designed out" of electronics products sold in the Pb-free countries.
Why Do Semiconductors use Lead?
The plating (conventionally tin-lead, abbreviated Sn-Pb) on the device legs prevents the underlying leg material (usually copper) from corroding before and after being soldered into the printed circuit board (PCB). The lead in the plating (and in the solder) lowers the melting point of the plating and solder, reduces migration of the tin before and after soldering, and assists in forming a solid electro-mechanical joint between the IC and the printed circuit board (PCB).
To eliminate lead in electronic assemblies, it must be eliminated from the solder as well as the components themselves. For integrated circuits, this means eliminating lead from the plating used on the IC's legs. See RoHS 2 Finishes for more details.