This paper presents the results of a research program set up to evaluate atomic layer deposition (ALD) conformal coatings as a method of mitigating the growth of tin whiskers from printed circuit board assemblies. The effect of ALD coating process variables on the ability of the coating to mitigate whisker growth were evaluated. Scanning electron microscopy and optical microscopy were used to evaluate both the size and distribution of tin whiskers and the coating/whisker interactions. Results show that the ALD process can achieve significant reductions in whisker growth and thus offers considerable potential as a reworkable whisker mitigation strategy. The effect of ALD layer thickness on whisker formation was also investigated. Studies indicate that thermal exposure during ALD processing may contribute significantly to the observed whisker mitigation.
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- Tin whiskers
- atomic layer deposition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Chemistry