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Microstructure Evolution During Alternating-Current-Induced Fatigue

[+] Author Affiliations
R. R. Keller, R. H. Geiss, Y.-W. Cheng, D. T. Read

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Paper No. IMECE2004-61291, pp. 107-112; 6 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Materials
  • Anaheim, California, USA, November 13 – 19, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Materials Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4712-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-4178-2, 0-7918-4179-0, 0-7918-4180-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Subjecting electronic interconnect lines to high-density, low-frequency alternating current creates cyclic thermomechanical stresses that eventually cause electrical failure. A detailed understanding of the failure process could contribute to both prevention and diagnostics. We tested unpassivated Al-1Si traces on the NIST-2 test chip; these are 3.5 μm wide by 0.5 μm thick by 800 μm long, with a strong (111) as-deposited fiber texture and an initial average grain diameter of approximately 1 μm. We applied rms current densities of 11.7 to 13.2 MA/cm2 at 100 Hz. Resistance changes in the lines indicated that such current densities produce temperature cycles at 200 Hz with amplitude exceeding 100 K. Open circuits occurred in under 10 minutes, with substantial surface damage seen after only one minute. A few failures initiated at lithography defects initially present in the lines, but most were produced by the current alone. In one detailed example presented in this paper, we monitored the damage process by interrupting the current at 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, and 320 s in order to characterize an entire line by scanning electron microscopy and automated electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD); failure took place after 697 s. Results are described in terms of deformation, grain growth, and orientation changes.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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