Grain Boundary Induced Lateral Propagation of Intermetallic Phases in Nano-Grained Cu-Sn Thin Film Couples
The kinetics of lateral Cu6Sn5 and Cu3Sn phase propagation induced by grain boundary (GB) interdiffuson in thin-film diffusion couples Cu-Sn were studied in a temperature range 160-180oC by optical microscopy, AFM, SEM, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Nano-grained Cu and Sn films were sequentially deposited on glass substrates with 5 – 20 µm overlap. To prevent surface diffusion and thus separate GB-diffusion contribution into kinetics of phase propagation, the surfaces of diffusion couples were covered by a thin (20 – 40 nm) carbon layer. It was found that the rates of lateral Cu6Sn5 and Cu3Sn phase spreading in thin-film couples exceed several times the spreading rates of the same phases over the surface of coarse-grained samples and 50 – 70 times exceed the rates in the bulk of massive samples. Kinetics of lateral phase spreading both in thin-film and in massive diffusion couples obeys parabolic law. Similarly to A and B regimes for GB tracer diffusion, A and B regimes of GB reactive diffusion were found in the spreading Cu3Sn phase. The kinetics of the phase propagation turned out independent of the film thickness (in the range 40 – 200 nm) if the films possessed similar grain size, whereas the kinetics was rather sensitive to the grain size and GB structure. Theoretical analysis of the phase propagation kinetics accelerated by GB diffusion has been done and the phase propagation rates have been calculated. By comparison experimentally measured phase propagation rates with the calculated ones we determined the GB diffusion coefficients of Sn in both growing phases.
Irina V. Belova, Graeme E. Murch and Andreas Öchsner
Y. S. Kaganovsky et al., "Grain Boundary Induced Lateral Propagation of Intermetallic Phases in Nano-Grained Cu-Sn Thin Film Couples", Journal of Nano Research, Vol. 7, pp. 59-68, 2009