A solder alloy includes Sn, optional Ag, Cu, and Al wherein the solder alloy composition together with the solder alloy superheat temperature and rapid cooling rate from the superheat temperature are controlled to provide a dispersion of fine hard Cu--Al intermetallic particles in an as-solidified solder alloy microstructure wherein the particles are retained even after multiple solder reflow cycles often used in modern electronic assembly procedures to provide a particle strengthening to the solder joint microstructure as well as exert a grain refining effect on the solder joint microstructure, providing a strong, impact- and thermal aging-resistant solder joint that has beneficial microstructural features and is substantially devoid of Ag.sub.3Sn blades.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC02-07CH11358 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.