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Micro-tensile properties of hard and soft thin films, TiN and Au, were evaluated by directly measuring tensile strain in film tension using the micro-ESPI(electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry) technique. Micro-tensile stress-strain curves for these films were obtained and the properties were determined. TiN thin film 1 μm thick and Au films with two different thicknesses (t=0.5 μm and 1 μm) were deposited onto the silicon wafers, respectively, and micro-tensile specimens wide 50, 100 and 200 μm were fabricated using micromachining. In-situ measurement of the micro-tensile strain during tensile loading was carried out using the subsequent strain measurement algorithm and the ESPI system developed in this study. The micro-tensile curves showed that TiN thin film was a linear-elastic material showing no plastic deformation and Au thin film was an elastic-plastic material showing significant plastic flow. Effect of the specimen dimensions on mechanical properties was examined. It was revealed that tensile strengths for both films were slightly increased with increasing specimen width. Furthermore, variations of yielding strengths for the thin film Au with change of the dimension were investigated.
BN films consisting of c-BN and h-BN phases were synthesized using an ion-beam-assisted deposition process. In contrast to conventional observations, the c-BN and h-BN phases did not form separate layers, but were distributed in the form of nano-sized grains throughout the film thickness. No distinctly aligned h-BN layer was observed before the c-BN phase. Such a mixed character of the film was attributed to a localized ion bombardment effect instead of the macro-stress. Possibly because of the presence of scattered h-BN phases, the thin film described here possessed a low hardness of about 20 GPa and a low stress of about 5 GPa, compared with other reported c-BN-containing films.
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