The effect of joint size on the interfacial reaction in the Sn3.5Ag/Cu-substrate soldering system was examined. An experiment was conducted in which parameters such as bonding time, temperature, and pressure were varied at multiple levels. The morphology and thickness of all intermetallic compounds (IMC) were analyzed using the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) techniques. An examination of the microstructures of solder joints of different sizes revealed that the size of the solder joint has no effect on the type of IMCs formed during the process. It was found that the joint size significantly affected the thickness of the intermetallic layers. The Cu3Sn intermetallic layers formed in the smaller sized solder joints were found to be thicker than those in the larger sized solder joints. In all specimen sizes, the increase in the thickness of Cu3Sn intermetallic layers with soldering time was found to obey a parabolic relationship. Additionally, for the cases when eutectic solder is available in the joints, a similar soldering time and temperature dependency were found for the Cu6Sn5 IMC phase. The intermetallic growth of the Cu3Sn phase was under a volume-diffusion controlled mechanism. The growth rate constants and activation energies of intermetallic layers were also reported for different joint thicknesses. Furthermore, the growth rate constants of the Cu3Sn intermetallic layer were found to depend upon the size of the joints.

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