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Amorphous Thin Films in MEMS/NEMS

Amorphous thin film materials are more and more commonly adopted in the emerging new applications of MEMS. However, their mechanical behavior is still not yet nearly well understood as compared with their crystalline counterparts. The overall objective of this work is to contribute to the scientific understanding of the causal mechanisms of the mechanical responses of amorphous thin film materials so as to permit the design and construction of efficient MEMS structures and devices. Specifically, mechanical responses of thin films are probed under different thermal conditions, stress levels, size scales, and in both elastic and plastic regions. Various distinctive characteristics of the mechanical behaviors of the thin films are characterized systematically, and the underlying physical causal mechanisms are analyzed in depth.

Representative Publications (#denotes graduate students/postdocs supervised by X. Zhang; *denotes corresponding author by X. Zhang; +denotes contributed equally.)

J. Dong#, P. Du#, X. Zhang*, "Characterization of the Young's Modulus and Residual Stresses for a Sputtered Silicon Oxynitride Film Using Micro-Structures," Thin Solid Films, 2013, 545: 414-418. [DOI]

P. Du#, X. Wang#, I-K Lin#, X. Zhang*, "Effects of Composition and Thermal Annealing on the Mechanical Properties of Silicon Oxycarbide Films," Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 2012, 176: 90-98. [DOI]

P-H Wu, I-K Lin#, H-Y Yan, K-S Ou, K-S Chen, X. Zhang*, "Mechanical Property Characterization of Sputtered and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Deposition (PECVD) Silicon Nitride Films after Rapid Thermal Annealing," Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 2011, 168(1): 117-126. [DOI]

Y. Liu#, I-K Lin#, X. Zhang*, "Mechanical Properties of Sputtered Silicon Oxynitride Films by Nanoindentation," Materials Science and Engineering A, 2008, 489(1-2): 294-301. [DOI]

Z. Cao# and X. Zhang*, "Nanoindentation Stress-Strain Curves of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposited Silicon Oxide Thin Films," Thin Solid Films, 2008, 516(8): 1941-1951. [DOI]

Z. Cao# and X. Zhang*, "Nanoindentation Creep of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposited Silicon Oxide Thin Films," Scripta Materialia, 2007, 56(3): 249-252. [DOI]

Z. Cao# and X. Zhang*, "Size-Dependent Creep Behavior of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposited Silicon Oxide Films," Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 2006, 39(23): 5054-5063. [DOI]

Z. Cao# and X. Zhang*, "Experiments and Theory of Thermally-Induced Stress Relaxation in Amorphous Dielectric Films for MEMS and IC Applications," Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 2006, 127(2): 221-227. [DOI]

Z. Cao#, T-Y Zhang, X. Zhang*, "Microbridge Testing of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical-Vapor Deposited Silicon Oxide Films on Silicon Wafers," Journal of Applied Physics, 2005, 97(10): 104909(9pp). [DOI]

Z. Cao# and X. Zhang*, "Density Change and Viscous Flow During Structural Relaxation of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical-Vapor-Deposited Silicon Oxide Films," Journal of Applied Physics, 2004, 96(8): 4273-4280. [DOI]

Ph.D. Dissertation

Zhiqiang Cao, "Mechanical Behaviors of PECVD Dielectric Films for MEMS Applications," Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston University. (Advisor: Xin Zhang; January 2007)

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