An electroless Ni/Pd/Au plated electrode is expected to be used as an electrode material for lead-free solder to improve joint reliability. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of the thickness of the Pd layer on joint properties of the lead-free solder joint with the electroless Ni/Pd/Au plated electrode. Solder ball joints were fabricated with Sn-3Ag-0.5Cu (mass%) lead-free solder balls and electroless Ni/Pd/Au and Ni/Au plated electrodes. Ball shear force and microstructure of the joint were investigated. The (Cu,Ni)6Sn5 reaction layer formed in the joint interface in all specimens. The thickness of the reaction layer decreased with increasing the thickness of the Pd layer. In the joint with a Pd layer 0.36 μm thick, the remained Pd layer was observed in the joint interface. In the joint, impact shear force decreased compared with that of the joint without the remained Pd layer. On the contrary, when the thickness of the Pd layer was less than 0.36 μm, the Pd layer was not remained in the joint interface and impact shear force improved. Impact shear force of the joint with the electroless Ni/Pd/Au plated electrode was higher than that with the electroless Ni/Au one.

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