Au over Ni on Cu is a widely used printed circuit board (PCB) surface finish, under bump metallization (UBM), and component lead metallization. It is generally accepted that less than 3 wt.% Au in Sn-Pb solder joints inhibits formation of detrimental intermetallic compounds (IMC). However, the critical limit for Au content in Pb-free solder joints is not well established. Three surface-mount package platforms, one with a matte Sn surface finish and the others with Ni/Au finish, were soldered to Ni/Au-finished PCB using Sn-3.0Ag- 0.5Cu (SAC305) solder, in a realistic manufacturing setting. The assembled boards were divided into three groups: one without any thermal treatment, one subjected to isothermal aging at 125oC for 30 days, and the third group aged at 125oC for 56 days. Representative solder joints were cross-sectioned and analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX) to investigate the evolution of the solder joint morphology as a function of Au content and isothermal aging. It was found that, if Cu is available to dissolve in the solder joint, the migration of AuSn4 from the bulk to the interface as a result of thermal aging is mitigated.


Industrial Engineering | Manufacturing



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