In the manufacture of Printed Wiring Boards (PWB), unwelcome structures, such as nodules and whiskers can be formed during copper electroplating with copper sulfate. Copper (Cu) whiskers with lengths of up to a few hundred micrometers can lead to electrical shorts between layers or patterns. In this paper, we document factors that can affect the growth of Cu whiskers; decomposition of additives in the Cu electroplating solution, surface stress, acidic cleaner, and the ingredients of a dry film. Contaminants from outside of the electroplating bath and the ingredients of the dry film were shown as key components in the formation of Cu whiskers.

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