Deformation behavior of nanoporous polycrystalline silver layers sintered by low temperature bonding: experiment and simulation

Integrated circuit packaging technology has become a prime design consideration for the develop-ment of electronic system concepts. One key issue is the bonding layer between chip and substrate. Currently, high-lead solder materials are being used, which apart from their environmental problem, limit the reliable operation temperature of devices to temperatures lower than 175ºC. Low-temperature bonding by sintering nanograin sized silver is emerging as a promising replacement in power electronics modules working at high temperatures. Although silver has been studied as bonding material since three decades, it has not been widely used in the packaging industry which might be ascribed to the limited knowledge on its mechanical behavior. In this work, the microstructure of thin layers of nanoporous silver sintered under different conditions are studied and linked to the mechanical behavior (at room temperature) using X-ray diffraction in-situ deformation tests and finite element simulations. First the microstructure of several samples such as grain size distribution, defect structures, porosity, pore morphology and ligament size distribution are investigated and are related to the corresponding sintering conditions. Electron microscopy, high resolution X-ray imaging, and X-ray diffraction techniques are the employed characterization methods. We found a strong dependency of the microstructure on the sintering conditions. Afterward, series of X-ray diffraction in-situ continuous, load-unload and stress relaxation tensile tests are performed to study the deformation mechanisms at room temperature. All samples exhibit small elongation and a large hysteresis in the stress-strain curve. From the change in the peak position upon unloading the residual elastic strain inside the sample is calculated while the evolution of the peak broadening provides information on the recovery mechanisms and induced dislocations. A significant recovery in the peak position and peak broadening after unloading and during relaxation is observed for all specimens. This is attributed to the presence of the pores. We found that the density of generated dislocations during tensile deformation depends on the porous structure. The results suggest that there exist two contributions to deformation: one related to the pores and other to intra-granular dislocations. The competition between both mechanisms is discussed in terms of porosity and grain size. Finally, 3D FE microstructure-based simulations are performed to allow a better correlation between the porous morphology and mechanical behavior. The 3D reconstructed images of nanoporous silver obtained from X-ray ptychography are used as an input to create finite element meshes of the actual porous morphology. For homogenization purpose, a representative volume element approach is chosen. The apparent elastoplastic response of the bulk silver is extracted from the porous samples using inverse homogenization method. The simulations allow distinguishing between the interplay and role of the ligament size, pore morphology and porosity, and provide a better comprehension on the experimental observations. We show that the proposed model has a predictive character for general nanoporous silver microstructures.

Van Swygenhoven, Helena
Van Petegem, Steven
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis7022-7

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2016-09-01, last modified 2018-05-01

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