Phase transformation of Ni/Si thin films induced by nanoindentation and annealing

Woei Shyan Lee, Tao Hsing Chen, Chi Feng Lin, Jyun Ming Chen

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Thin Ni/Si films are prepared by depositing a Ni layer with a thickness of 100 nm on a Si (100) substrate. The as-deposited thin-film specimens are indented to a maximum depth of 500 nm using a nanoindentation technique and are then annealed at temperatures of 200°C, 300°C, 500°C and 800°C for 2 min. The microstructural changes and phases induced in the various specimens are observed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and micro-Raman scattering spectroscopy (RSS). Based on the load-displacement data obtained in the nanoindentation tests, the hardness and Young's modulus of the as-deposited specimens are found to be 13 GPa and 177 GPa, respectively. The microstructural observations reveal that the nanoindentation process prompts the transformation of the indentation-affected zone of the silicon substrate from a diamond cubic structure to a mixed structure comprising amorphous phase and metastable Si III and Si XII phases. Following annealing at temperatures of 200∼500°C, the indented zone contains either a mixture of amorphous phase and Si III and Si XII phases, or Si III and Si XII phases only, depending on the annealing temperature. In addition, the annealing process prompts the formation of nickel silicide phases at the Ni/Si interface or within the indentation zone. The composition of these phases depends on the annealing temperature. Specifically, Ni2Si is formed at a temperature of 200°C, NiSi is formed at a temperature of 300°C and 500°C, and NiSi2 is formed at 800°C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1096
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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