Development of Sn-Ag-Cu-X Solders for Electronic Assembly by Micro-Alloying with Al
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Of Pb-free solder choices, an array of solder alloys based on the Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) ternary eutectic (T eut = 217°C) composition have emerged with potential for broad use, including ball grid array (BGA) joints that cool slowly. This work investigated minor substitutional additions of Al (<0.25 wt.%) to Sn-3.5Ag-0.95Cu (SAC3595) solders to promote more consistent solder joint microstructures and to avoid deleterious product phases, e.g., Ag3Sn “blades,” for BGA cooling rates, since such Al additions to SAC had already demonstrated excellent thermal aging stability. Consistent with past work, blade formation was suppressed for increased Al content (>0.05Al), but the suppression effect faded for >0.20Al. Undercooling suppression did not correlate specifically with blade suppression since it became significant at 0.10Al and increased continuously with greater Al to 0.25Al. Surprisingly, an intermediate range of Al content (0.10 wt.% to 0.20 wt.% Al) promoted formation of significant populations of 2-μm to 5-μm faceted Cu-Al particles, identified as Cu33Al17, that clustered at the top of the solder joint matrix and exhibited extraordinary hardness. Clustering of Cu33Al17 was attributed to its buoyancy, from a lower density than Sn liquid, and its early position in the nucleation sequence within the solder matrix, permitting unrestricted migration to the top interface. Joint microstructures and implications for the full nucleation sequence for these SAC + Al solder joints are discussed, along with possible benefits from the clustered particles for improved thermal cycling resistance.
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Journal of Electronic Materials
Volume 41, Issue 7 , pp 1868-1881
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- Pb-free solder
- Al additions
- Ag3Sn blades
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