SiCN, Reactive Sputtering, XPS, Oxygen annealing
With the rapid increase in miniaturization of mechanical components, the need for a hard, protective coatings is of great importance. In this study we investigate some of the mechanical, chemical and physical properties of the SiCN thin films. Thin films of amorphous silicon carbide nitride (a-SiCxNy) were deposited in a RF magnetron sputtering system using a powder pressed SiC target. Films with various compositions were deposited on to silicon substrate by changing the N2/Ar gas ratios during sputtering. Nano-indentation studies were performed to investigate the mechanical properties such as hardness and reduced modulus of the SiCN films. Surface morphology of the films was characterized by using atomic force microscopy (AFM). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) data indicated that the chemical status is highly sensitive to the nitrogen ratios during sputtering. Further, the films were annealed in dry oxygen ambient in the temperature range of 400 900°C and characterized using XPS to investigate the chemical composition and oxidation kinetics at each annealing temperature. The surface roughness of these films was studied as a function of annealing temperature and film composition with the help of a "Veeco" optical profilometer. Nano-indentation studies indicated that the hardness and the reduced modulus of the film are sensitive to the N2/Ar ratio of gas flow during sputtering. AFM studies revealed that the films become smoother as the N2/Ar ratio is increased. XPS data indicated the existence of C-N phases in the as-deposited films. The study of oxidation kinetics of RF sputter deposited SiCN thin films, using XPS, suggest that N2 co-sputtering helps to suppress the formation of a surface oxide, by allowing un-bonded Si to bond with N and C inside the vacuum chamber as opposed to bonding with O in atmosphere.
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Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Todi, Ravi, "Investigations On Rf Sputter Deposited Sicn Thin Films For Mems Applications" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 625.