This paper presents a mechanical cross-sectioning approach that produces an image clarity not yet demonstrated in published literature. It demonstrates how a critical sequence of polishing, basic slurry optimization and staining, in conjunction with correct imaging parameters can be used to highlight the growth morphology of the intermetallic compound (IMCs). Utilizing this approach, the paper describes the results of a SEM imaging study of the intermetallic formation and growth at the Cu-Al bond interface during thermal ageing for up to 4000hrs at 150 deg C. The paper uses direct SEM imaging to catalog observations which are used to create an initial model for IMC and void growth at the wire bonded interface. It examines the effect of aluminum splash and concludes that growth of intermetallics at the Cu-Al interface is rapid into the bond-pad aluminum than into the Cu-ball, but the growth thickness uniformity is much higher into the Cu-ball.

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