Structure and elastic properties of amorphous silicon carbon nitride films

G. Lehmann, P. Hess, J. J. Wu, C. T. Wu, T. S. Wong, K. H. Chen, L. C. Chen, H. Y. Lee, M. Amkreutz, Th Frauenheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Amorphous SiCxNy films with various compositions were deposited by ion-beam sputtering. The bonding characteristics, Young's modulus, and density of the films were investigated using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, surface acoustic wave spectroscopy, x-ray reflection, and molecular-dynamics (MD) simulations. It was observed that the Young's modulus decreases from 260±20 to 85±12 GPa while the density decreases from 3.45±0.2 to 2.3±0.3 g/cm3 as the carbon content of the films increases from 0% to 68%. FTIR and XPS spectra indicate an increasing proportion of double and triple bonds with higher carbon content of the films. These experimental results were compared with the Young's moduli and the infrared spectra obtained from density-functional-based MD simulations. Also for these model calculations the Young's modulus drops from 237±54 to 109±25 GPa as the carbon content increases from 0% to 69%. It can be seen that the formation of C=C, C=N, C≡C, and C≡N bonds, together with the occurrence of terminating nitrogen atoms for the films with higher carbon content, are responsible for the degradation of the sp3 network, and therefore for a lower Young's modulus and density.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165305
Pages (from-to)1653051-16530510
Number of pages14877460
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Oct 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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