Al surface morphology effect on flip-chip solder bump shear strength

Esther Wai Ching Yau, Jing Feng Gong, Philip Ching Ho Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the result of a study on the effect of aluminum pad surface morphology on the flip-chip solder bump reliability. The influence of the Al surface morphology on the electroless zinc/nickel/gold UBM is presented. The reliability of the solder bump as measured by ball shear force is reported. Al pad were produced using two RF sputtering systems: CVC-601 and Varian-3180. The Al targets used in CVC and Varian system were 99%Al-1%Si and 98.95%Al-1%Si-0.05%Ti respectively. The surface of the CVC sputtered Al samples were smooth while the surface of the Varian sputtered Al samples were rough. All the samples were subjected to the electroless zinc/nickel/gold plating. The results suggest that after plating, the smooth Al surface resulted in a fine nickel UBM surface while the rough Al surface formed a coarse nickel UBM surface. Ball shear test was conducted after the solder balls were bumped on the UBM. Result shows that the fine UBM surface samples have twice the shear strength compared to the samples with coarse UBM surface samples. The analysis of the results indicates that shear surface occurred at the UBM and the solder interface for samples with rough UBM surface leading to the lower shear strength. Nickel bump shear test result shows that pretreatment of Al pad surface by sodium hydroxide and nitric acid created more zinc seeds this led to better electroless nickel plating. Nickel bump shear tests also shows that double zincated bumps had higher shear strength than single zincated bumps. To obtain reliable flip-chip solder bumps, it is essential to maintain good Al pad surface morphology, pretreatment of the Al pad and undergo second zincation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalMicroelectronics Reliability
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Al surface morphology effect on flip-chip solder bump shear strength'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this