Correlation between surface whisker growth and interfacial precipitation in aluminum thin films on silicon substrates

I. Dutta, M. Burkhard, S. Kuwano, T. Fujita, M. W. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When subjected to thermal excursions, aluminum thin films on silicon substrates often show whisker or hillock growth on the film surface, along with formation of Si precipitates at the interface. This study demonstrates that the two effects are related, and that interfacial Si precipitation directly influences the growth of Al whiskers on the film surface during isothermal annealing at 300-550 °C. The density of whiskers and hillocks not only increases with increasing annealing temperatures where the film is under greater compressive stress, but also during longer hold times which should relieve the stress. At high temperatures and long annealing times, extensive Si precipitation, eventually leading to a bi-modal precipitate size distribution, occurs continuously at the interface. The total amount of Si precipitates far exceeds the solubility limit of Si in the Al thin film, and can generate enough compressive stress in the film to drive surface whisker growth. By continuously augmenting film stress, interfacial Si precipitation supplies the driving force for whisker/hillock formation on the Al-film surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3367-3374
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Volume45
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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