During service and/or storage, Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) solder alloys are subjected to temperatures ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 Tm (where Tm is the melting temperature of SAC alloys), making them highly prone to significant microstructural coarsening. The microstructures of these low melting point alloys continuously evolve during service. This results in evolution of creep properties of the joint over time, thereby influencing the long-term reliability of microelectronic packages. Here, we study microstructure evolution and creep behavior of two Sn-Ag-Cu (SAC) alloys, namely Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu and Sn-1.0Cu-0.5Cu, isothermally aged at 150°C for various lengths of time. Creep behavior of the two SAC solders after different aging durations was systematically studied using impression creep technique. The key microstructural features that evolve during aging are Ag3Sn particle size and inter-particle spacing. Creep results indicate that the creep rate increases considerably with increasing inter-particle spacing although the creep stress exponent and creep activation energy are independent of the aging history.

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