The effect of Cu content in Sn(Cu) alloys on the interfacial reaction between Ni thin film and Sn(Cu) alloys has been investigated. We have found that the variation of Cu content has a strong influence on the spalling of the Ni thin film. With small Cu additives in the Sn, spalling was deferred to longer reflowing time. When the Cu content increased to about 1.0 wt.%, a layer of Cu-Sn compound formed on the Ni thin film, and no spalling was observed after 20-min reflowing. The possible mechanism of spalling deferring is proposed. A Cu flux from the solder to the interface compensated the ripening flux of the semispherical compound grains; therefore, spalling was retarded. The driving force of the Cu flux was attributed to the reduction of Cu solubility caused by the presence of Ni at the interface of the Ni thin film. The Cu flux from solder to the interface is calculated to be in the same order with the ripening flux of the Cu6Sn5 compound grains, which confirms the proposed mechanism of spalling deferring. For the Sn(Cu) alloys having Cu content over 1.0 wt.%, the Cu-Sn compound layer grew so fast that the surface of the interfacial compound layer was free of Ni. There was no Cu flux to compensate the ripening flux; therefore, the ripening flux dominated, and spalling occurred after a short reflowing time.
Journal of Electronic Materials 32(11), pp.1214-1221