TIN-BISMUTH LOW TEMPERATURE SOLDER SYSTEMS -DEVELOPMENT AND FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING
Low reflow temperature solder interconnect technology based on Sn-Bi alloys is currently being considered as an alternative for Sn-Ag-Cu solder alloys to form solder interconnects at significantly lower melting temperatures than required for Sn-Ag-Cu alloys.
A new low temperature interconnect technology based on Sn-Bi alloys is being considered for attaching Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) solder BGAs to circuit boards at temperatures significantly lower than for homogeneous SAC joints. Microstructure development studies of reflow and annealing, including Bi diffusion and precipitation, are important in understanding mechanical reliability and failures paths in the resulting heterogeneous joints. Experiments in several SAC-SnBi geometries revealed that Bi concentration profiles deviate from local equilibrium expected from the phase diagram, with much higher local concentrations and lower volume fractions of liquid than expected during short-time high temperature anneals in the two-phase region. As annealing time increased and Sn grain coarsening occurred, the compositions and fractions revert to the phase diagram, suggesting an “anti-Scheil” effect. A Bi interface segregation model based on Bi segregation at Sn grain boundaries was developed to explain the Bi distribution characteristics in Sn during two-phase annealing process.
Besides hybrid joints, microstructural evolution after reflow and aging, especially of intermetallic compound (IMC) growth at solder/pad surface finish interfaces in homogeneous SnBi LTS joints, is also important to understanding fatigue life and crack paths in the solder joints. This study describes intermetallic growth in homogeneous solder joints of Sn-Bi eutectic alloy and Sn-Bi-Ag alloys formed with electroless nickel-immersion gold (ENIG) and Cu-organic surface protection (Cu-OSP) surface finishes. Experimental observations revealed that, during solid state annealing following reflow, the 50nm Au from the ENIG surface finish catalyzed rapid (Au,Ni)Sn4 intermetallic growth at the Ni-solder interface in both Sn-Bi and Sn-Bi-Ag homogeneous joints, which led to significant solder joint embrittlement during fatigue testing. Further study found that the growth rate of (Au,Ni)Sn4 intermetallic could be reduced by In and Sb alloying of SnBi solders and is totally eliminated with Cu addition. Fatigue testing revealed Au embrittlement is always present in solder joints without Cu, even with In and Sb additions due to (Au,Ni)Sn4 formation. The fatigue reliability of Cu-containing alloys is better on ENIG due to the formation of (Ni,Cu,Au)6Sn5 at the solder-surface finish interface instead of (Au,Ni)Sn4.
With the development of SnBi LTSs, a new generation alloy called HRL1 stands out for its outstanding reliability during thermal cycling and drop shock testing. This study focused on microstructure evolution in SnBi eutectic, SnBiAg eutectic and HRL1 solders (MacDermid Alpha) homogeneous joints and hybrid joints with SAC305 formed with ENIG and Cu-OSP surface finishes. Experimental results revealed that with more microalloying elements, HRL1 has significantly refined microstructure and slower Sn grain growth rate during solid-state aging compared with SnBi and SnBiAg eutectic alloys. Intermetallic compound growth study showed that during solid state annealing following reflow, the (50nm) Au from the ENIG finish catalyzed rapid (Au,Ni)Sn4 intermetallic growth at the Ni-solder interface in both Sn-Bi and Sn-Bi-Ag homogeneous joints, which led to significant solder joint embrittlement during creep and fatigue loading. However, (Au,Ni)Sn4 growth and gold embrittlement was completely eliminated for HRL1 due to Cu additions in it, and HRL1 has significantly better fatigue reliability than SnBi and SnBiAg eutectic alloys on both OSP and ENIG surface finishes.