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Ball grid array
A ball grid array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging (a chip carrier) used for integrated circuits. BGA packages are used to permanently mount devices such as microprocessors. A BGA can provide more interconnection pins than can be put on a dual in-line or flat package. The whole bottom surface of the device can be used, instead of just the perimeter. The leads are also on average shorter than with a perimeter-only type, leading to better performance at high speeds.
Soldering of BGA devices requires precise control and is usually done by automated processes. BGA devices are not suitable for socket mounting.
The BGA is descended from the pin grid array (PGA), which is a package with one face covered (or partly covered) with pins in a grid pattern which, in operation, conduct electrical signals between the integrated circuit and the printed circuit board (PCB) on which it is placed. In a BGA the pins are replaced by pads on the bottom of the package, each initially with a tiny ball of solder stuck to it. These solder spheres can be placed manually or by automated equipment, and are held in place with a tacky flux. The device is placed on a PCB with copper pads in a pattern that matches the solder balls. The assembly is then heated, either in a reflow oven or by an infrared heater, melting the balls. Surface tension causes the molten solder to hold the package in alignment with the circuit board, at the correct separation distance, while the solder cools and solidifies, forming soldered connections between the device and the PCB.