Fracture Process of Aluminum/Aluminum Nitride Interfaces during Thermal Cycling
Al circuit substrates, which are composed of a sintered AlN plate and pure Al plate joined to both sides of the AlN plate, are used for semiconductor power devices. It is important to prevent fracture of the Al/AlN interface to ensure normal and stable device operation. In this study, the fracture process of Al/AlN interface during thermal cycling was investigated using advanced scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Al circuits joined to an AlN plate were plastically deformed with thermal cycling. Al grains were divided with the formation of sub-boundaries due to the plastic deformation. After 2000 thermal cycles, a crack was generated at edges of the Al/AlN interface and propagated gradually to the center of the substrate. Cross-sectional observation, using an angle selective backscattered electron detector (AsB), revealed that the Al grain size near the Al/AlN interface decreased to 3 m or less, and the crack proceeded along the Al grain boundaries. To clarify the temperature dependence of the fracture process, a repeated bending test was performed at various temperatures. Shear strains were induced at the Al/AlN interface by the repeated bending. The rate of crack propagation tends to be higher at higher temperatures for bending test. In substrates bent at 373 K or higher, the crack proceeded after the Al grains had been refined. These results indicate that fine-grained Al resulting from thermal cycling is formed by creep deformation and recrystallization at higher temperatures. Thus, improving the creep strength of the Al plate is thought to be effective for prevent cracking during thermal cycling. The effect of additive elements in the Al plate was also discussed in this study.
T. Chandra, N. Wanderka, W. Reimers , M. Ionescu
Y. Nagatomo et al., "Fracture Process of Aluminum/Aluminum Nitride Interfaces during Thermal Cycling ", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 638-642, pp. 3895-3900, 2010