Tungsten silicide (WSix) thin tilms have been investigated for use as integrated circuit interconnect and self-aligned MESFET (metal-semiconductor field-effect transistor) gates because of their low resistivity and thermal and chemical stability. These same characteristics make them interesting materials for prospective use in micromechanical structures. However, little information on residual stresses, elastic moduli, or other micromechanical properties has been available for refractory metal silicide thin films. This paper presents the morphology and stress characteristics of cosputtered WSix thin films, including crystal structure variations and orientation-dependent stresses, as a function of the deposition pressure. The compositions of WSix thin films were analyzed by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). The biaxial elastic modulus and thermal coefficient of expansion were found for the sputtered films. Stress-measurement methods and annealing are discussed. Released diaphragms of different sizes and shapes, having controlled residual stress, have been fabricated.
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