Journal of Electronic Materials

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 4012–4034 | Cite as

Validation of the Dynamic Recrystallization (DRX) Mechanism for Whisker and Hillock Growth on Sn Thin Films

  • P. T. Vianco
  • M. K. Neilsen
  • J. A. Rejent
  • R. P. Grant


A study was performed to validate a first-principles model for whisker and hillock formation based on the cyclic dynamic recrystallization (DRX) mechanism in conjunction with long-range diffusion. The test specimens were evaporated Sn films on Si having thicknesses of 0.25 μm, 0.50 μm, 1.0 μm, 2.0 μm, and 4.9 μm. Air annealing was performed at 35°C, 60°C, 100°C, 120°C, or 150°C over a time duration of 9 days. The stresses, anelastic strains, and strain rates in the Sn films were predicted by a computational model based upon the constitutive properties of 95.5Sn-3.9Ag-0.6Cu (wt.%) as a surrogate for pure Sn. The cyclic DRX mechanism and, in particular, whether long whiskers or hillocks were formed, was validated by comparing the empirical data against the three hierarchal requirements: (1) DRX to occur at all: εc = A D o m Z n , (2) DRX to be cyclic: D o < 2D r, and (3) Grain boundary pinning (thin films): h versus d. Continuous DRX took place in the 2.0-μm and 4.9-μm films that resulted in short stubby whiskers. Depleted zones, which resulted solely from a tensile stress-driven diffusion mechanism, confirmed the pervasiveness of long-range diffusion so that it did not control whisker or hillock formation other than a small loss of activity by reduced thermal activation at lower temperatures. A first-principles DRX model paves the way to develop like mitigation strategies against long whisker growth.


Sn whiskers hillocks depleted zones dynamic recrystallization (DRX) 


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The authors wish to thank Mark Grazier for his development of the test fixtures and Lisa Lowery for the FIB cross-sections as well as Don Susan and Pylin Sarobol for their thorough reviews of this manuscript. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. T. Vianco
    • 1
  • M. K. Neilsen
    • 1
  • J. A. Rejent
    • 1
  • R. P. Grant
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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