Experimental and computational study of the morphological evolution of intermetallic compound (Cu6Sn5) layers at the Cu/Sn interface under isothermal soldering conditions
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Cu/Sn soldering alloys have emerged as a viable alternative to Pb-based solders, and thus have been extensively explored in the past decade, although the fine-scale behavior of the resulting intermetallic compounds (IMCs), particularly during the early stages of interface formation, is still a source of debate. In this work, the microstructural evolution of Cu 6Sn 5, in a Cu/Sn soldering reaction at 523 K, was experimentally investigated by dipping a single Cu sample into molten Sn at a near-constant speed, yielding a continuous set of time evolution samples. The thickness, coarsening and morphology evolution of the Cu 6Sn 5 layer is investigated through the use of scanning electron microscopy. The experimental results are also compared to phase-field simulations of the microstructural evolution of the Cu 6Sn 5 layer. The influence of model parameters on the kinetics and morphological evolution of the IMC layer was examined. In general, good qualitative agreement is found between experiments and simulations and for a limited parameter set there appears to be good quantitative agreement between the growth kinetics of the Cu 6Sn 5 layer, the grain boundary (GB) effect on grain coarsening, and the substrate/IMC interface roughness evolution. Furthermore, the parametric investigations of the model suggests that good agreement between experiments and simulations is achieved when the dominant transport mechanism for the reacting elements (Cu and Sn) is GB diffusion. 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.