Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Some Electronics, And Their Component Alloys, Age More Quickly Than Others

Date:
April 1, 2008
Source:
Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique
Summary:
Why do certain electronic components undergo spontaneous, irreversible breakdown? Why do certain mechanical parts, without any apparent wear, suffer failure? An initial, empirical answer to such questions has been provided by observations and measurements. In fact, for the first time, scientists have succeeded in directly monitoring one of the processes that accelerates the aging of alloys. Their results clearly show that the presence of certain defects in alloys causes their components to separate more rapidly. This discovery should enable the lifetime of electronic components to be predicted with more accuracy.

Observation of a film of aluminum at 420°C by transmission electronic microscopy. The smallest nanoparticle of silicon (P1) drains through the dislocation (d1) abnormally rapidly to expand the nanoparticle (P2), until it disappears.
Credit: Copyright CEMES-CNRS, Marc Legros

Why do certain electronic components undergo spontaneous, irreversible breakdown? Why do certain mechanical parts, without any apparent wear, suffer failure? An initial, empirical answer to such questions has been provided by observations and measurements made by French researchers(1) (CEMES / CNRS), associated with foreign research teams(2). In fact, for the first time, they have succeeded in directly monitoring one of the processes that accelerates the ageing of alloys. Their results clearly show that the presence of certain defects in alloys causes their components to separate more rapidly. This discovery should enable the lifetime of electronic components to be predicted with more accuracy.

Electronic components and mechanical parts fail because, over time, the alloys they are made of undergo ageing. All metals and alloys have defects, known as dislocations, responsible for most of their mechanical properties. For the last fifty or so years, it has been suspected that these very defects are the cause of premature ageing of alloys. Thanks to observations made by a   CEMES-CNRS team in Toulouse, the researchers have recently demonstrated that the presence of such defects actually accelerates the ageing process of alloy based materials.

They studied a material widely used in electronics for metal connections in microprocessors. Constituted of a film of aluminum and inclusions of silicon nanoparticles, this alloy is like a mayonnaise (fine droplets of oil emulsified in water).

Certain defects in the aluminum crystalline structure create microscopic channels that interconnect the silicon nanoparticles. This configuration allows the silicon atoms to move rapidly from one particle to another; Marc Legros even goes so far as describing these defects as “atom slides”. Over time, the smaller particles dissolve and the atoms composing them swell the largest particles. Whereas before they were intimately mixed, the silicon and aluminum separate, just like the oil and water of a mayonnaise that de-emulsifies. This dynamic phenomenon then leads to the destruction of the alloy and the loss of its properties.

Using transmission electronic microscopy, CEMES-CNRS researchers directly monitored the very rapid disappearance of a small “drop of silicon” to the benefit of a larger drop, the first time this has been done. This phenomenon is known as “pipe-diffusion.”

Although the silicon atoms can move about slowly in the aluminum, the researchers showed, by repeating the experiment at different temperatures, that the presence of a crystalline dislocation increases one thousand fold the rate of transfer of silicon atoms from one nanoparticle to another. Therefore, the “mayonnaise” separates more rapidly when defects are present.

This research adds a piece to the puzzle of understanding the ageing of alloys and has enabled the modeling of this very complex phenomenon to be improved. In particular, the researchers hope to be able to control the ageing of aluminum based interconnections in microprocessors and acquire a better understanding of the mechanical behavior of alloys used, for example, in airplane engines.

Notes:

1) Marc Legros, CEMES-CNRS, Toulouse

2) Gerhard Dehm, Erich Schmid Institute of Materials Science, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Department Materials Physics, University of Leoben, Austria, Eduard Arzt, INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials , Saarbrücken, Allemagne

T. John Balk, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, United States.

Journal reference: Giant diffusivity along dislocation cores, Marc Legros, Gerhard Dehm, Eduard Arzt, T. John Balk, Science, 21 March 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique. "Why Some Electronics, And Their Component Alloys, Age More Quickly Than Others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330211630.htm>.
Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique. (2008, April 1). Why Some Electronics, And Their Component Alloys, Age More Quickly Than Others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330211630.htm
Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique. "Why Some Electronics, And Their Component Alloys, Age More Quickly Than Others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330211630.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) — Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) — Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) — The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins