Influence of Initial Morphology and Thickness of Cu6Sn 5 and Cu3Sn Intermetallics on Growth and Evolution during Thermal Aging of Sn-Ag Solder/Cu Joints

X. Deng, G. Piotrowski, J. J. Williams, Nikhilesh Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Intermetallic-layer formation and growth in Pb-free solder joints, during solder reflow or subsequent aging, has a significant effect on the thermal and mechanical behavior of solder joints. In this study, the influence of initial intermetallic morphology on growth rate, and kinetics were examined in a Sn-3.5Ag solder reflowed on Cu. The initial morphology of the intermetallic was tailered by cooling in water, air, or furnace conditions. Solder aging was conducted at 100°C, 140°C, and 175°C and aged for 0-1,000 h. Cooling rate, aging temperature, and aging time played an important role on microstructure evolution and growth kinetics of Cu6Sn5 (η) and Cu3Sn (ε) intermetallic layers. Prior to aging, faster cooling rates resulted in a relatively planar Cu6Sn 5 layer, while a nodular Cu6Sn5 morphology was present for slower cooling. Intermetallic-growth rate measurements after aging at various times, indicated a mixed growth mechanism of grain-boundary and bulk diffusion. These mechanisms are discussed in terms of the initial intermetallic thickness and morphology controlled by cooling rate, diffusion kinetics, and the competition between Cu6Sn6 and Cu3Sn growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1413
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Intermetallics
  • Lead-free solder
  • Sn-3.5Ag
  • Solder reflow
  • Thermal aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

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