Reliability and failure mechanism of copper pillar joints under current stressing

Hui Cai Ma, Jing Dong Guo, Jian Qiang Chen, Di Wu, Zhi Quan Liu, Qing Sheng Zhu, Jian Ku Shang, Li Zhang, Hong Yan Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The electromigration (EM) lifetime of copper pillars were investigated by orthogonal tests. According to the Black’s mean-time-to-failure equation, the activation energy and exponent of current density were calculated to be 0.88 eV and 1.64, respectively. The microstructure evolution of the joints under current stressing was observed. It was found that the Sn solder was usually depleted before the joint failed, which means the joint was only composed of Cu6Sn5 and Cu3Sn phases as a Cu/Cu3Sn/Cu6Sn5/Cu3Sn/Cu structure after a period of EM test. Three failure modes were observed: failure along the Cu/Cu3Sn interface at the cathode side, failure along the Cu/Cu3Sn interface at the anode side and brittle fracture through the IMCs. The percentages of these three failure modes are 55, 24 and 21 %, respectively. The formation of Kirkendall voids was suggested to be the key factor for the EM failure of the Cu pillar joints. Before the Sn solder was depleted, voids were mainly formed at the Cu6Sn5/Sn interface at the cathode, which is dominated by the Cu flux induced by current; while after the Sn solder was depleted, voids formation is dominated by the chemical diffusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7690-7697
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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