Skip to Main Content
The objective of this paper is to investigate thin, solid, prestressed ceramic films as a means of enhancing the reliability of silicon semiconductor wafers stressed in bending. To characterize the effect of thin films on strength, one-micrometer ceramic films were deposited on wafers using plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition. The modulus of rupture (MOR) of the coated wafers was determined from four-point bend testing of coated samples. Adhesion testing of the coated wafers primarily showed cohesive rather than adhesive failure. A series of residual stresses was introduced into the coating-silicon interface and the MOR was determined. The results showed that for a thin brittle coating (1 mum) on a silicon wafer (635 mum), the minimal shear stress at the surface led to dominance of the residual stress over intrinsic coating strength as the critical parameter affecting failure. A correlation between MOR and residual stress was established.