Skip to main content Accessibility help

Microscopic study of intermetallic compound formation by in situ method

  • H. Gauthier (a1), P. Hovington (a1), M. Lagacé (a1), P. Noël (a1), A. Lapointe (a1) and D. Gagnon (a1)...


The formation of intermetallic compounds (IMC) and its effects at the interface between different metals has always been of interest for the electronics industry, contacts manufacturers and users. The purpose of this work is primarily to develop an in situ technique of thermally aging metallic samples within the vacuum chamber of a scanning electron microscope (SEM). This setup enables ongoing observation of the formation and growth of intermetallic compounds within the chamber. Due to the amount of data available in literature, copper-tin specimens were chosen as a basis to validate the technique. Once the samples were thermally aged, energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyses as well as electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) were done on the surfaces. Ex situ nano-indentation measurements were also performed on the IMC. Results have shown that the IMC formation can be observed while aging within a SEM chamber.


Corresponding author


Hide All
[1] U. Lindborg, B. Asthner, L. Lind, L. Reevay, Intermetallic growth and contact resistance of tin contacts after aging (L.M. Ericsson Telephone Company, Stockholm, Sweden, 1975)
[2] S. Dirnfeld, J. Ramon, Microstructure investigation of copper-tin intermetallics and influence of layer thickness on shear stress (Welding Research, 1990)
[3] M. Braunovic, D. Gagnon, Nanoscale mechanical properties of intermetallics in lead-free systems, in 52rd IEEE Holm conference on electrical contacts (2006), pp. 117–123
[4] T. Ito, K. Takata, Y. Hattori, Microscopy study of fretting corrosion of tin plated contacts, in 53rd IEEE Holm Conf. on electrical contacts (2007), pp. 216–221
[5] T. Hammam, Tin coating techniques for copper based alloys– the effects on friction, wear and electric properties, in 43rd IEEE Holm Conf. on Electrical Contacts (1997), pp. 201–211
[6] Gagliano, R.A., Fine, M., J. Electron. Mater. 32, 1441 (2003)
[7] D. Olsen, R. Wright, H. Berg, Effects of intermetallic on the reliability of tin coated Cu, Ag, and NI parts (Motorola Semiconductors Products Division, 1975)
[8] M. Braunovic, N. Aleksandrov, Intermetallic compounds at aluminium-to-copper and copper to tin electrical interfaces, in 38rd IEEE Holm Conf. on Electrical Contacts (1992), pp. 25–34
[9] Chen, S., Chen, C., Liu, W., J. Electron. Mater. 27, 1193 (1998)
[10] Zou, H., Yang, H., Zhang, Z.F., Acta Mater. 56, 2649 (2008)
[11] Deng, X., Piotrowski, G., Williams, J., Chawla, N., J. Electron. Mater. 32, 1403 (2003)
[12] Révay, L., Surf. Technol. 5, 57 (1977)
[13] R.J. Fields, S.R. Low, Physical and mechanical properties of intermetallic coumpounds commonly found in solder joints, (2002)
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The European Physical Journal - Applied Physics
  • ISSN: 1286-0042
  • EISSN: 1286-0050
  • URL: /core/journals/the-european-physical-journal-applied-physics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed