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Effect of microstructure on hardness of submicrometre thin films and nanostructured devices

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve BullORCiD, Dr Noushin Moharrami, Dr Adrian OilaORCiD



The manufacture of mechanical devices such as microelectromechanical systems from thin films can lead to circumstances where the scale of the mechanical deformation induced by device operation is comparable with the scale of the microstructure of the materials from which they are made. A similar observation occurs when using indentation tests to assess the hardness of thin films, where the plastic zone dimensions may be comparable with the grain size. The present paper highlights the effect of grain size, shape and orientation on the indentation response of copper thin films used for semiconductor metallisation. The conditions under which continuum behaviour is observed are discussed, and the effect of crystallographic anisotropy on the choice of appropriate design data will be highlighted for copper coatings. The choice of test conditions such as control method and loading protocol required to generate reliable data is also discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bull SJ, Sanderson L, Moharrami N, Oila A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Materials Science and Technology

Year: 2012

Volume: 28

Issue: 9-10

Pages: 1177-1185

Print publication date: 01/10/2012

Date deposited: 02/07/2014

ISSN (print): 0267-0836

ISSN (electronic): 1743-2847

Publisher: Maney Publishing


DOI: 10.1179/1743284711Y.0000000120


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