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Purti R. S.

Thin Film
Thin film - A layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer to several micrometers in thickness A few applications:

Magnetic sensors senses I, B, or changes in them Gas sensors, SAW devices Tailored materials layers of very thin films to develop materials with new properties Optics Anti-reflection coatings Corrosion protection, wear resistance Etc..

Characterization of Thin Films

Representation or study of characteristics or properties of thin films The fabrication process like LPCVD determines important properties and variation in characteristics of the material For proper design & operation of MEMS devices which take into account these variations in characteristics, accurate control or estimation of the material properties is critical But, the designers have very little or no control over the fabrication process During and after the process, mechanical stresses develop in the thin film and substrate With increasing complexity and miniaturization of the devices, the problems associated with stresses become more acute Therefore study and measurement of these mechanical stresses is essential

Types of stress
Residual Stresses: These are stresses that remain after the original cause of the stresses (external forces, heat gradient) has been removed. They remain along a cross section of the component, even without the external cause. We can think of residual stress in thin films as having two components:
Extrinsic / Thermal mismatch stress Intrinsic stress i.e., stress due to all effects other than thermal mismatch

Types of stresses & causes

Extrinsic / Thermal Stress: Film depositions are usually made above room temperature. Upon cooling from deposition temperature (TD) to room temperature (TR), the difference in thermal expansion coefficients of the substrate (s) and the film (f) cause Thermal Stress.
Temp = TD

Temp = TD<TR /TD>TR


Si substrate

Si substrate



Thermal Stress Calculation

Thermal stress is directly related to 1. Difference in thermal coefficients of expansion of the film and the substrate ( f s ) 2. Temperature variation (T) If it is assumed that all the stress is taken up by the thin film (since the substrate is thick), then, th = Ef ( f s ) T

where, th is the thermal stress in the film Ef is the Youngs Modulus of the film

Types of stresses & causes

Intrinsic / Growth Stress : It is often observed that stresses develop in films during deposition or growth. These stresses arise because generally films are deposited under nonequilibrium conditions. Causes: Lattice mismatch Chemical reaction Doping (by Diffusion or ion implantation) Rapid deposition(evaporation or sputtering) Volume changes by phase transformation

Stress Measurement
To determine the local stress in a thin film, a method known as RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY is used The Raman Spectroscopy System is as shown:

Stress Measurement

Block Diagram of Raman Spectroscopy System

Stress Measurement - Raman Spectroscopy

Laser light is focused on the sample through a microscope Scattered light carrying the Raman signals is collected and directed into a spectrometer The Spectrometer measures the intensity of the signal as a function of frequency This is done twice; once with unstressed sample for reference spectrum and once with stressed sample The stressed state Raman spectrum shows a frequency shift with respect to the reference spectrum which is a result of the residual or induced stress