The increasing application of heat-sensitive microelectronic components such as a multitude of transistors, polymer-based microchips, and so on, and flexible polymer substrates including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyimide (PI), among others, for use in wearable devices has led to the development of more advanced, low melting temperature solders (<150°C) for interconnecting components in various applications. However, the current low melting temperature solders face several key challenges, which include more intermetallic compound formation (thus become more brittle), cost issues according to the addition of supplementary elements to decrease the melting point temperature, an increase in the possibility of thermal or popcorn cracking (reliability problems), and so on. Furthermore, the low melting temperature solders are still required to possess rapid electronic/electrical transport ability (high electrical conductivity and current density) and accompany strong mechanical strength sustaining the heavy-uploaded microelectronic devices on the plastic substrates, which are at least those of the conventional melting temperature solders (180–230°C). Thus, the pursuit of more advanced low melting temperature solders for interconnections is timely. This review is devoted to the research on three methods to improve the current properties (i.e., electrical and thermomechanical properties) of low melting temperature solders: (i) doping with a small amount of certain additives, (ii) alloying with a large amount of certain additives, and (iii) reinforcing with metal, carbon, or ceramic materials. In this review, we also summarize the overall recent progress in low melting temperature solders and present a critical overview of the basis of microscopic analysis with regard to grain size and solid solutions, electrical conductivity by supplementation with conductive additives, thermal behavior (melting point and melting range) according to surface oxidation and intermetallic compound formation, and various mechanical properties.
Part of the book: Soldering Materials