Interdiffusion and Formation of Intermetallic Compounds in High-Temperature Power Electronics Substrate Joints Fabricated by Transient Liquid Phase Bonding

Chidinma Imediegwu, Samuel Graham, Darshan Pahinkar, Sreekant Narumanchi, Paul Paret, Joshua Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


Power electronics packages typically comprise a dielectric substrate bonded to a metal layer and attached to heat sinks using a low-thermal-conductivity solder. These multiple layers increase the effective thermal resistance of the package and are responsible for package failures under cyclic thermal loads. Bonding the aluminum nitride dielectric layer (AlN) directly to a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) aluminum silicon carbide (AlSiC) cold plate using copper‑aluminum (Cu-Al) transient liquid phase (TLP) bonding has been shown to improve the mechanical reliability of the power electronic packages while making the package more compact by bringing the cooling solutions closer to the devices. This study aims to characterize the Cu-Al bonds formed during the TLP bonding of AlSiC with three different power electronics substrates: pure aluminum nitride (AlN), aluminum (DBA), and copper (DBC). The material compositions and microstructures of the bonds were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), confocal scanning acoustic microscopy (C-SAM), and x-ray diffraction (XRD). α-Al solid compound was identified as the dominant phase in AlN-AlSiC and Al-AlSiC, with a notable presence of SiC particles. In contrast, three intermetallic phases – θ-CuAl2, η-CuAl, and γ′- Cu9Al4 – were observed in the Cu-AlSiC bond. A computational solid-state diffusion model was developed to predict the intermetallic compounds (IMCs) formed during Cu-Al TLP bonding in each system, which supported the observation that an initial Cu volume fraction of 20 % in the material layers produced a final bond composition of >95 % Al with minimal IMC growth. However, increased Cu concentrations produced higher concentration gradients, leading to increased growth of IMCs, Kirkendall voids, and interstitial cracks.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 114788
Number of pages12
JournalMicroelectronics Reliability
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-82870


  • Coefficient of thermal expansion
  • Diffusion modeling
  • High-temperature power electronics package
  • Transient liquid phase bonding
  • Wide band gap
  • X-ray diffraction


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