Effects of Zn addition on the drop reliability of Sn–3.5Ag–xZn/Ni(P) solder joints


Varying amounts of Zn (1, 3, 7 wt%) were added to Sn–3.5Ag solder on the electroless Ni(P)/immersion Au metallization, and solder joint microstructures after reflow and isothermal aging (500 h at 150 °C) were investigated using scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction, which were subsequently correlated to the microhardness and drop test results. Zinc in the solder affected the solder joint intermetallic compounds profoundly, which improved the drop reliability significantly. The effect of Zn was to nucleate Ni5Zn21 and to suppress the formation of Ni3P, Ni3SnP, and Ni3Sn4, which were known to increase the propensity for brittle cracking. Drop test results showed an inverse correlation between the number of drops-to-failure (Nf) and the thickness of Ni3P layer. As the growth of the Ni3P layer was suppressed by Zn, drop reliability increased substantially.

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This work was supported by the Center for Electronic Packaging Materials (ERC) of MOST/KOSEF (Grant No. R11-2000-085-08001-0).

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Jee, Y.K., Yu, J. & Ko, Y.H. Effects of Zn addition on the drop reliability of Sn–3.5Ag–xZn/Ni(P) solder joints. Journal of Materials Research 22, 2776–2784 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.2007.0346

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