Title: Elasto-plastic characterisation of low-temperature plasma-deposited silicon nitride thin films using nanoindentation

Authors: Mariusz Martyniuk, Charles A. Musca, John M. Dell, Robert G. Elliman, Lorenzo Faraone

Addresses: School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. ' School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. ' School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. ' Department of Electronic Materials Engineering, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. ' School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia

Abstract: Nanoindentation has been utilised in order to investigate the mechanical properties of low-temperature (50-300°C) plasma-deposited SiNx thin films for applications of micro-electro-mechanical systems on temperature sensitive, non-standard substrates. It is found that films deposited at higher temperatures are suitable for these applications, in contrast to films deposited at lower temperatures which tend to have much lower values of Young|s modulus and hardness, as well as exhibit significant surface roughness, porosity, and creep. The correlation of SiNx mechanical properties with deposition temperature is shown to be associated with thin film atomic composition and details of the deposition process.

Keywords: nanoindentation; thin films; MEMS; microelectromechanical systems; silicon nitride; Young|s modulus; hardness; elasto-plasticity; surface roughness; porosity; creep.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSURFSE.2009.024359

International Journal of Surface Science and Engineering, 2009 Vol.3 No.1/2, pp.3 - 22

Available online: 01 Apr 2009 *

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