A rapid nano-indentation measurement technique is employed to produce surface maps of hardness. Each indentation cycle requires less than three seconds, including surface approach, contact detection, force application, withdrawal, and movement to the next indentation site. Traditional nano-indentation analyses are applied to the force-displacement measurements from each indentation, but information storage and presentation owe much to scanning-probe technology. Consequently, this nano-indentation technique produces three-dimensional images of mechanical properties which are stored and manipulated just like scanned images.
In the present work, we use this technique to map the hardness of a SAC 305 solder joint with gold plating. After extended isothermal aging, the solder joint comprises three constituents: a tin-rich matrix, a bulk intermetallic AuSn4, and an interfacial intermetallic (Cu, Ni, Au)6Sn5. The softest material is the tin-rich matrix, which has a hardness of 0.51±0.07 GPa. The hardness of the bulk intermetallic is 2.12±0.18 GPa. The interfacial intermetallic has extraordinary hardness— greater than 8 GPa. Under uniform plastic strain, the mismatch in hardness between the interfacial intermetallic and surrounding material may increase the local stress intensity factor which drives interfacial fracture.