Solder joints can experience fatigue cracking at the interface between the solder and substrate during thermal cycling due to the difference in thermal expansion between joined components. In order to strengthen the interfacial region and prevent cracking, two Cu pad surface treatments were studied on Sn-3Ag-0.5Cu solder, and on matte Sn plate and Ni plate coatings. The resulting intermetallic microstructures were characterized using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy. Mechanical testing was performed using nano-indentation on the solder joints. The matte Sn plate on Cu sample formed an uneven distribution of Ag3Sn particles and a planar Cu6Sn5 interfacial intermetallic. The Ni-plated sample formed a needle-like Ni-rich interfacial intermetallic and uniform dispersion of Ag3Sn particles. The rough intermetallic compound (IMC)/solder interface and even IMC particle distribution cause the Ni-plated sample to experience reduced damage under board-level thermomechanical cycling because the interfacial structure reduces the Sn matrix recrystallization that contributes to fatigue cracking. In contrast, the matte Sn-plated sample exhibited an Ag3Sn particle-free zone adjacent to a planar Cu6Sn5 IMC layer which allows for rapid Sn recrystallization and fatigue crack propagation.
- crack growth
- lead-free solder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Chemistry