The influence of a small amount of Al and Ni nano-particles on the microstructure, kinetics and hardness of Sn-Ag-Cu solder on OSP-Cu pads

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

56 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Journal / PublicationIntermetallics
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


In order to identify the effect of the addition of Al and Ni nano-particles to Sn-Ag-Cu solder, the interfacial microstructure between the composite solders and Organic Solderability Preservative (OSP)-Cu pads has been investigated as a function of reaction time at various temperatures as well as aging time. Also the hardness of the solder joints was evaluated with the reaction time. In Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Ni composite solder joints, a scallop-shaped Sn-Ni-Cu intermetallic compound (IMC) layer was clearly observed at the interfaces. However, after long time aging, a very thin Cu 3Sn IMC was formed between the Sn-Ni-Cu IMC layer and the OSP-Cu substrate. On the other hand, a layer type Cu 6Sn 5 and Cu 3Sn IMC layers were found at the interfaces in the solder joints containing Al nano-particles. In addition, the Cu 3Sn IMC layer thickness was substantially increased with an increase in the aging time. In solder ball regions, very fine Sn-Ni-Cu IMC particles in the Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Ni composite solder and very fine Sn-Ag-Al IMC particles in the Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Al composite solder joints were uniformly distributed in the β-Sn matrix as well as the Ag 3Sn IMC particles. From kinetic analysis, the calculated activation energies for the Sn-Ni-Cu for the Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Ni IMC and total (Cu 6Sn 5+Cu 3Sn) IMC layers for Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Al composite solder joints on OSP-Cu pads were 49.3 and 55.1 kJ/mol, respectively. In addition, solder joints containing Ni nano-particles displayed a higher hardness due to the uniform distribution of fine Sn-Ni-Cu IMC particles. The hardness values of Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Ni and Sn-Ag-Cu-0.5Al composite solder joints after 5 min reaction at 250 °C were about 16.7 Hv and 16.1 Hv, respectively while, their hardness values after 30 min reaction were about 15.0 Hv and 14.7 Hv, respectively. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • A. Intermetallics, miscellaneous, B. Phase transformation, C. Heat treatment, D. Microstructure, F. Electron microscopy, scanning