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Electrical Contact Resistance in Thin ({\leq}{\rm 0.5}~\mu{\rm m}) Gold Plated Contacts: Effect of Gold Plating Thickness

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2 Author(s)
Prashant Misra ; Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India ; J. Nagaraju

This paper describes the electrical contact resistance (ECR) measurements made on thin gold plated (gold plating of ≤ 0.5 μm with a Ni underlayer of ~2 μm) oxygen free high conductivity (OFHC) Cu contacts in vacuum environment. ECR in gold plated OFHC Cu contacts is found to be slightly higher than that in bare OFHC Cu contacts. Even though gold is a softer material than copper, the relatively high ECR values observed in gold plated contacts are mainly due to the higher hardness and electrical resistivity of the underlying Ni layer. It is well known that ECR is directly related to plating factor, which increases with increasing coating thickness when the electrical resistivity of coating material is more than that of substrate. Surprisingly, in the present case it is found that the ECR decreases with increasing gold layer thickness on OFHC Cu substrate (gold has higher electrical resistivity than OFHC Cu). It is analytically demonstrated from the topography and microhardness measurements results that this peculiar behavior is associated with thin gold platings, where the changes in surface roughness and microhardness with increasing layer thickness overshadow the effect of plating factor on ECR.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 4 )