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Solder reaction-assisted crystallization of electroless Ni–P under bump metallization in the Si/SiO2/Al/Ni–P/63Sn–37Pb multilayer structure was analyzed using transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray, and electron probe microanalyzer. The electroless Ni–P had an amorphous structure and a composition of Ni85P15 in the as-plated condition. Upon reflow, the electroless Ni–P transformed to Ni3Sn4 and Ni3P. The crystallization of electroless Ni–P to Ni3P was induced by the depletion of Ni from electroless Ni–P to form Ni3Sn4. The interface between electroless Ni–P and Ni3P layer was planar. From the Ni3P thickness-time relationship, the kinetics of crystallization was found to be diffusion controlled. Conservation of P occurs between electroless Ni–P and Ni3P, meaning that little or no P diffuses into the molten solder. Combining the growth rates of Ni3Sn4 and Ni3P, the consumption rate of electroless Ni–P was determined. Based upon mi- crostructural and diffusion results, a grain-boundary diffusion of the Ni or an interstitial diffusion of the P in the Ni3P layer was proposed. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.
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