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Fatigue Experiments on Single Crystal Silicon in an Oxygen-Free Environment

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8 Author(s)
Hong, V.A. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA, USA ; Yoneoka, S. ; Messana, M.W. ; Graham, A.B.
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The fatigue lifetime of single crystal silicon (SCS) was characterized in an environment free of oxygen, humidity, and organics. Long-term (> 1010 Hz) fatigue experiments performed with smooth-walled SCS devices showed no signs of fatigue damage up to 7.5 GPa. In contrast, experiments using SCS devices with a silicon dioxide (SiO2) coating and rough sidewalls due to scalloping from deep reactive ion etching exhibited fatigue drift at 2.7 GPa and suffered from short-term (<; 1010 Hz) fatigue failure at stress levels >3 GPa. In these SCS-SiO2 experiments, the initiation of fracture occurs in the SiO2 layer. It is concluded that fatigue in this case is likely attributed to a subcritical cracking mechanism; not reaction-layer nor dislocation related. A cross-comparison with other works from literature is developed to show that packaging a pristine device in an inert environment is necessary in order to operate devices at high-stress levels.

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 2 )