Silicon oxynitride (SiON) films with different oxygen and nitrogen content were deposited by RF magnetron sputtering. Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy study revealed that co-sputterred SiON films were composed of one homogeneous phase of random bonding O-Si-N network. Time-dependent plastic deformation (creep) of SiON films were investigated by depth-sensing nanoindentation at room temperature. Results from nanoindentation creep indicated that plastic flow was relatively less homogenous with increasing nitrogen content in film composition. A deformation mechanism based on atomic bonding structure and shear transformation zone (STZ) plasticity theory was proposed to interpret creep behaviors of sputtered SiON films.
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