Mechanical characterization of thin TiO2 films by means of microelectromechanical systems-based cantilevers

Adami, A.; Decarli, M.; Bartali, R.; Micheli, V.; Laidani, N.; Lorenzelli, L.
January 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Jan2010, Vol. 81 Issue 1, p015109
Academic Journal
The measurement of mechanical parameters by means of microcantilever structures offers a reliable and accurate alternative to traditional methods, especially when dealing with thin films, which are extensively used in microfabrication technology and nanotechnology. In this work, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based piezoresistive cantilevers were realized and used for the determination of Young’s modulus and residual stress of thin titanium dioxide (TiO2) deposited by sputtering from a TiO2 target using a rf plasma discharge. Films were deposited at different thicknesses, ranging from a few to a hundred nanometers. Dedicated silicon microcantilevers were designed through an optimization of geometrical parameters with the development of analytical as well as numerical models. Young’s modulus and residual stress of sputtered TiO2 films were assessed by using both mechanical characterization based on scanning profilometers and piezoresistive sensing elements integrated in the silicon cantilevers. Results of MEMS-based characterization were combined with the tribological and morphological properties measured by microscratch test and x-ray diffraction analysis.


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