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Characterizing the mechanical properties of metal thin films is critical for the design and fabrication of metal microelectromechanical systems and integrated circuit devices. This paper focuses on wafer-level determination of the mechanical behavior of sputtered aluminum and nickel thin films, using a variety of measurement techniques. Elastic moduli have been determined in devices fabricated with standard micromachining techniques using bulge testing of square diaphragms and lateral resonator structures. We find a Young's modulus of ~70 GPa for Al and ~200 GPa for Ni, in agreement with data for the bulk metals. Using pressurize/depressurize cycles, the load-deflection curves of the membranes have also been determined, and in conjunction with finite element simulations, were used to determine the yield strength and fracture strength of these films. Residual stresses in the films have also been investigated using wafer curvature, bulge testing, and X-ray diffraction. The merits of each measurement technique are discussed.
Date of Publication: June 2007