Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 1399–1407 | Cite as

Origins of saccharin-induced stress reduction based on observed fracture behavior of electrodeposited Ni films

  • Sumit K. Soni
  • Brian W. Sheldon
  • Sean J. Hearne


This research presents experimental results of an investigation aimed at understanding grain size driven mechanical processes in electrodeposited Ni thin films where saccharine additions are commonly used to improve mechanical properties. Ni films were fabricated using salfamate-based electro chemical baths, where it is empirically known that mmol/l concentrations of saccharine will reduce the observed tensile stress in addition to lowering the grain size up to a few nanometer scales. Some previous observations and several theoretical models suggest that saccharine incorporation results in sulfur segregation at grain boundaries. Since grain boundary formation is also associated with tensile stress evolution, a plausible hypothesis is that saccharine additions are directly altering grain boundary energetics. This suggests that saccharine additions should also have an observable effect on intergranular fracture in these films. To test this prediction, in situ stress measurements during film growth and fracture testing of these same films were compared. Lithographically patterned substrates were used to produce films with ordered arrays of uniform islands, which demonstrated island size effects on stress evolution, and enabled a well-defined notch geometry along one of the island boundaries to facilitate fracture experiments. In situ uniaxial tensile testing under in a scanning electron microscope was then used to obtain the fracture strength of such specimens. This technique provided real time recording of microscopic deformation during uniaxial tensile loading. The observed relationships among residual stress, grain size, and fracture strength were then analyzed with detailed models of both film growth and fracture.


Saccharin Initiate Crack Growth Saccharin Concentration Island Boundary Nickel Sulfamate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Allan Bower, Eric Chason, Bob Ellis, John Nogan, and David Pietrzak. The authors would also like to thank Evans Analytical Group for performing SIMS measurements. This work was partly funded through the DOE Office of Science Center for Integrated Nano-Technology. Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. This research also made use of the MRSEC shared Experimental Facilities at Brown University, supported by the National Science Foundation No. DMR-0520651-IRG1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sumit K. Soni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brian W. Sheldon
    • 1
  • Sean J. Hearne
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EngineeringBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Center for Integrated Nano-TechnologiesSandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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