Tin whiskers growth of SnAgIn solder on Kovar substrate with Au/Ni plating

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1227
Journal / PublicationJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


In this research, the interactions of SnInAg solder on Kovar leadframes (Fe29Ni17Co) with Au/Ni UMB was studied, to reveal the whiskers growth mechanism. Samples were prepared by reflow process and aging, with SnInAg solder paste on the substrate. Scanning electron microscope was used to observe the morphology and the cross-sectioned structure of the whiskers. Focused ion-beam was used for the preparation of the transmission electron microscope (TEM) samples, and energy dispersive X-ray and TEM were then used to distinguish the different intermetallic compound (IMC) phases. It was found that, a special solder thickness range would be needed for the growth of whiskers. The root cause of this strip whiskers growth region was studied. It is worthy to mention that, the Sn-Cu reactions, which was reported by many former researches, was not the main source of the compressive stress here. It was found that the Au-Sn reactions, the IMCs transformation during the aging process, and the oxidation layer growth were dominating the whiskers growth. Effects of cracks on the whiskers growth were carefully observed and discussed, and it was found that cracks under a certain width could exempt the breaking of the oxidation layer at the solder surface, thus help the whiskers growth. On the other hand, wide cracks might accommodate the deformation of the solder layer and prohibit the whiskers from being erupted out. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.