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This paper reports the mechanical properties and fracture behavior of silicon carbide (3C-SiC) thin films grown on silicon substrates. Using bulge testing combined with a refined load-deflection model of long rectangular membranes, which takes into account the bending stiffness and prestress of the membrane material, the Young's modulus, prestress, and fracture strength for the 3C-SiC thin films with thicknesses of 0.40 and 1.42 mum were extracted. The stress distribution in the membranes under a load was calculated analytically. The prestresses for the two films were 322 plusmn 47 and 201 plusmn 34 MPa, respectively. The thinner 3C-SiC film with a strong (111) orientation has a plane-gstrain moduli of 415 plusmn 61 GPa, whereas the thicker film with a mixture of both (111) and (110) orientations exhibited a plane-strain moduli of 329 plusmn 49 GPa. The corresponding fracture strengths for the two kinds of SiC films were 6.49 plusmn 0.88 and 3.16 plusmn 0.38 GPa, respectively. The reference stresses were computed by integrating the local stress of the membrane at the fracture over edge, surface, and volume of the specimens and were fitted with Weibull distribution function. For the 0.40-mum-thick membranes, the surface integration has a better agreement between the data and the model, implying that the surface flaws are the dominant fracture origin. For the 1.42-mum-thick membranes, the surface integration presented only a slightly better fitting quality than the other two, and therefore, it is difficult to rule out unambiguously the effects of the volume and edge flaws. [2007-0191].
Date of Publication: April 2008