Effects of microstructural evolution and intermetallic layer growth on shear strength of ball-grid-array Sn-Cu solder joints

C. K. Shin, Y. J. Baik, J. Y. Huh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The shear strength of ball-grid-array (BGA) solder joints on Cu bond pads was studied for Sn-Cu solder containing 0, 1.5, and 2.5 wt.% Cu, focusing on the effect of the microstructural changes of the bulk solder and the growth of intermetallic (IMC) layers during soldering at 270°C and aging at 150°C. The Cu additions in Sn solder enhanced both the IMC layer growth and the solder/IMC interface roughness during soldering but had insignificant effects during aging. Rapid Cu dissolution from the pad during reflow soldering resulted in a fine dispersion of Cu6Sn5 particles throughout the bulk solder in as-soldered joints even for the case of pure Sn solder, giving rise to a precipitation hardening of the bulk solder. The increased strength of the bulk solder caused the fracture mode of as-soldered joints to shift from the bulk solder to the solder/IMC layer as the IMC layer grew over a critical thickness about 1.2 μm for all solders. The bulk solder strength decreased rapidly as the fine Cu6Sn5 precipitates coarsened during aging. As a consequence, regardless of the IMC layer thickness and the Cu content of the solders, the shear strength of BGA solder joints degraded significantly after 1 day of aging at 150°C and the shear fracture of aged joints occurred in the bulk solder. This suggests that small additions of Cu in Sn-based solders have an insignificant effect on the shear strength of BGA solder joints, especially during system use at high temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1331
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Oct


  • BGA solder joint
  • Ball shear strength
  • Fracture mode
  • Intermetallic compound
  • Sn-Cu solder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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