Recently, due to the increasing heat density of printed circuit boards (PCBs), thermal fatigue damage in the joints has exerted a more significant influence on the reliability of electronic components. Accordingly, the development of a new nondestructive inspection technology is strongly desired by related industries. The authors have applied a synchrotron radiation X-ray micro-tomography system to the nondestructive observation of micro-cracks. However, the reconstruction of CT images is difficult for planar objects such as PCB substrates, due to insufficient X-ray transmission in the direction parallel to the substrates. In order to solve this problem, a synchrotron radiation laminography system was developed to relax size restrictions on the observation samples, and was applied to the three-dimensional nondestructive evaluation of several kinds of solder joints, which were loaded under accelerated thermal cyclic conditions via thermal shock tests. Moreover, the thermal fatigue crack propagation process that occurs under actual PCB energization loading conditions will differ from that under the usual acceleration test conditions. In this work, the possibility of in-situ monitoring of the thermal fatigue crack propagation process using the laminography system was investigated at die-attached joints subjected to cyclic energization loading, which is close to the actual usage conditions of PCBs. The optical system developed for use in the laminography system was constructed to provide a rotation stage with a tilt from the horizontally incident X-ray beam, and to obtain X-ray projection images via a beam monitor. In this manner, the X-ray beam is sufficiently transmitted through the planar specimen in all projections. The observed specimens included several die-attached joints, in which 3 mm square ceramic dies had been mounted on a 40 mm square FR-4 substrate using Sn-3.0wt%Ag-0.5wt%Cu solder. Consequently, the laminography system was successfully applied to the in-situ monitoring of thermal fatigue cracks that appeared in the solder layer under cyclic energization. This was possible because the laminography images obtained in the energization state have a quality that is equivalent to those obtained in a non-energized state, provided that the temperature distribution of the specimen is stable. In addition, the fatigue crack propagation process can be quantitatively evaluated by measuring the crack surface area and calculating the average crack propagation rate. However, in some cases, the appearance of thermal fatigue cracks was not observed in a solder layer that had been loaded by the accelerated thermal cycle test. This result strongly suggests that delamination occurred at the interface, which indicates that the corresponding fracture mode was significantly influenced by the type of thermal loading.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.