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This paper describes mechanical properties of submicron thick diamond-like carbon (DLC) films used for surface modification in MEMS devices. A new compact tensile tester operating under an atomic force microscope (AFM) is developed to measure Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio and fracture strength of single crystal silicon (SCS) and DLC coated SCS (DLC/SCS) specimens. DLC films with a thickness ranging from 0.11 μm to 0.58 μm are deposited on 19-μm-thick SCS substrate by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition using a hot cathode penning ionization gauge discharge. Young's moduli of the DLC films deposited at bias voltages of -100 V and -300 V are found to be constant at 102 GPa and 121 GPa, respectively, regardless of film thickness. Poisson's ratio of DLC film is also independent of film thickness, whereas fracture strength of DLC/SCS specimens is inversely proportional to thickness. Raman spectroscopy analyses are performed to examine the effect of hydrogen content in DLC films on elastic properties. Raman spectra reveal that a reduction in hydrogen content in the films leads to better elastic properties. Finally, the proposed evaluation techniques are shown to be applicable to sub-micron thick DLC films by finite element analyses.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006