skip to main content

Title: On the reliability of nanoindentation hardness of Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} films grown on Si-wafer by atomic layer deposition

The interest in applying thin films on Si-wafer substrate for microelectromechanical systems devices by using atomic layer deposition (ALD) has raised the demand on reliable mechanical property data of the films. This study aims to find a quick method for obtaining nanoindentation hardness of thin films on silicon with improved reliability. This is achieved by ensuring that the film hardness is determined under the condition that no plastic deformation occurs in the substrate. In the study, ALD Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} films having thickness varying from 10 to 600 nm were deposited on a single-side polished silicon wafer at 300 °C. A sharp cube-corner indenter was used for the nanoindentation measurements. A thorough study on the Si-wafer reference revealed that at a specific contact depth of about 8 nm the wafer deformation in loading transferred from elastic to elastic–plastic state. Furthermore, the occurrence of this transition was associated with a sharp increase of the power-law exponent, m, when the unloading data were fitted to a power-law relation. Since m is only slightly material dependent and should fall between 1.2 and 1.6 for different indenter geometry having elastic contact to common materials, it is proposed that the high m values are the results from themore » inelastic events during unloading. This inelasticity is linked to phase transformations during pressure releasing, a unique phenomenon widely observed in single crystal silicon. Therefore, it is concluded that m could be used to monitor the mechanical state of the Si substrate when the whole coating system is loaded. A suggested indentation depth range can then be assigned to each film thickness to provide guidelines for obtaining reliable property data. The results show good consistence for films thicker than 20 nm and the nanoindentation hardness is about 11 GPa independent of film thickness.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ;  [2]
  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, Vuorimiehentie 2A, FI-00076 Espoo (Finland)
  2. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tietotie 3, FI-02044 Espoo (Finland)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22258675
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. A, Vacuum, Surfaces and Films; Journal Volume: 32; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Vacuum Society; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; ALUMINIUM OXIDES; DEFORMATION; DEPOSITION; HARDNESS; MONOCRYSTALS; NANOSTRUCTURES; PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS; PLASTICITY; RELIABILITY; SILICON; SUBSTRATES; THICKNESS; THIN FILMS