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Micro-Fracture testing of Ni-W Microbeams Produced by Electrodeposition and FIB Machining

  • David Armstrong (a1), Abdul Haseeb (a2), Angus Wilkinson (a3) and Steve Roberts (a4)


Electrodeposited nickel-tungsten alloys are being considered as a candidate material for components for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabricated by the LIGA (German acronym for lithography, electrodeposition, and forming) technology. In spite of having a useful range of properties including; hardness and strength, better tribological and chemical resistance and improved high temperature resistance as compared with the conventionally used electrodeposited Ni, these alloys possess certain brittleness. In this study, the fracture toughness of Ni-17.5 at%W alloy microcantilever beams (dimension: 60µm × 20µm x 14µm) fabricated by UV lithography and electrodeposition and notched by focused ion beam machining is investigated. Load was applied to the beams using a nanoindenter, which also allowed accurate positioning of the sample. Fracture toughness was calculated from the fracture load assuming a linear elastic behaviour. The Ni-W alloy beams were found to possess a mean fracture toughness of 2.97 MPa √m. The fracture toughness of Ni-W alloy is found to be higher than that of Si - another important MEMS material, but considerably lower than that of electrodeposited nickel and nickel base alloys.



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