This paper highlights the interfacial structure of tin-silver (Sn-3·5Ag) solder on nickel-coated copper pads during aging performance studies at a temperature of 150°C for up to 96 h. Experimental results revealed the as-solidified solder bump made from using the lead-free solder (Sn-3·5Ag) exhibited or showed a thin layer of the tin-nickel-copper intermetallic compound (IMC) at the solder/substrate interface. This includes a sub-layer having a planar structure immediately adjacent to the Ni-coating and a blocky structure on the inside of the solder. Aging performance studies revealed the thickness of both the IMC layer and the sub-layer, having a planar structure, to increase with an increase in aging time. The observed increase was essentially non-linear. Fine microscopic cracks were observed to occur at the interfaces of the planar sub-layer and the block sub-layer.
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Lin, D. C.; Kovacevic, R.; Srivatsan, T. S.; and Wang, Guo-Xiang, "A Study Aimed at Characterizing the Interfacial Structure in a Tin-Silver Solder on Nickel-Coated Copper Plate during Aging" (2008). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research. 341.