Grain growth orientation and anisotropy in Cu6Sn5 intermetallic: Nanoindentation and electron backscatter diffraction analysis

Soud Farhan Choudhury, Leila Ladani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


As the size of joints in micro/nano-electronics diminishes, the role of intermetallic (IMC) layers becomes more significant. It was shown that solder joint strength is controlled largely by IMC strength at higher strain rates. Additionally, there is a possibility that very small joints are completely composed of IMCs. Further miniaturization of joints may result in statistical grain size effects. Therefore, it is essential to characterize IMC materials and understand their anisotropic mechanical properties. One of the most common types of IMCs in microelectronic joints is Cu6Sn5, which is formed in a variety of bonding materials with different compositions of Sn, Cu, and Ag. This work studies through nanoindentation elastic-plastic properties of a single grain of Cu6Sn5 IMC in a Sn-3.5Ag/Cu system with reflow soldering. Elastic properties such as elastic modulus and hardness were determined from the nanoindentation load-depth curve. The reverse analysis model described by Dao et al. was used to extract plastic properties such as yield strength and strain hardening exponent from nanoindentation data. Care was taken to achieve indentation of single grains with sufficient accuracy and repeatability. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) mapping was used to determine orientation of Cu6Sn5 grains and to relate the orientation with the load-depth curve results of nanoindentation and the corresponding elastic and plastic properties. The EBSD results indicated that the Cu6Sn5 crystal structure is hexagonal. Columnar growth of the Cu6Sn5 grains was observed as the grains mostly grew along the c-axis of the crystal. Indentation of different grains parallel to the basal plane showed no significant difference in mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)996-1004
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • IMCs
  • crystallographic orientation
  • electron backscatter diffraction
  • nanoindentation
  • scanning electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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