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The ability of rare-earth-containing lead-free solders to wet and bond to silica was investigated. Small additions of Lu (0.5–2 wt. %) added to eutectic Sn–Ag or Au–Sn solder render it directly solderable to a silicon oxide surface. The bonding is attributed to the migration of the rare-earth element to the solder–silica interface for chemical reaction and the creation of an interfacial layer that contains a rare-earth oxide. It was found that additions of rare-earth materials did not significantly modify the solidification microstructure or the melting point. Such oxide-bondable solders can be useful for assembly of various optical communication devices. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.