We investigated the micro-void formation of solder joints after reliability tests such as preconditioning (precon) and thermal cycle (TC) by varying the thickness of Palladium (Pd) in Electroless Nickel / Electroless Palladium / Immersion Gold (ENEPIG) surface finish. We used lead-free solder of Sn-1.2Ag-0.5Cu-Ni (LF35). We found multiple micro-voids of less than 10 µm line up within or above the intermetallic compound (IMC) layer. The number of micro-voids increased with the palladium (Pd) layer thickness. Our results revealed that the micro-void formation should be related to (Pd, Ni)Sn4 phase resulted from thick Pd layer. We propose that micro-voids may form due to either entrapping of volatile gas by (Pd, Ni)Sn4 or creeping of (Pd, Ni)Sn4.
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