Electroplated gold thin films have been used for micro bumps in flip chip packing structures. However, it has been reported that physical properties and micro texture of the electroplated thin films vary drastically comparing with those of conventional bulk material, depending on their electroplating process. In addition, since one bump is going to consist of a few grains or a single grain due to the miniaturization of the 3D structures, it shows strong anisotropic mechanical properties because a face-centered cubic crystal essentially has strong anisotropy of physical properties. Therefore, there should be the wide distribution of characteristics of the micro bumps depending on their micro structure and the variation of the crystallinity of grains and grain boundaries enlarges the width of the distributions of various properties. Particularly, it was found that the long-term reliability of micro bumps and interconnections is degraded drastically by porous grain boundaries with a lot of defects because of the acceleration of atomic diffusion along the porous grain boundaries under the application of high current density (electromigration) and high mechanical stress (stress-induced migration).
In this study, the effect of crystallinity, in other words, the order of atom arrangement of grain boundaries in electroplated gold thin films on the EM resistance was investigated experimentally. The crystallinity of the gold thin films was varied drastically by changing the under-layer material used for electroplating; such as Cr (30 nm) / Pt (50 nm)/ Au (200 nm) and Ti (50 nm) / Au (100 nm). The mechanical properties of the electroplated gold thin films were measured by using a nano-indentation test. Also, the micro textures such as crystallinity and crystallographic orientation of gold thin films were investigated by EBSD (Electron Back-Scatter Diffraction) and XRD (X-Ray Diffraction). It was clarified that the crystallinity of the electroplated gold thin films changed drastically depending on the crystallinity of the under-layer materials and heat treatment conditions after electroplating. This variation of the crystallinity should have caused the wide variation of mechanical properties of the electroplated gold films. Therefore, it is very important to control the crystallinity of the under layer used for electroplating in order to control the mechanical properties and reliability of the electroplated gold thin films.