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Evaluation of Interfacial Fracture Strength in Micro-Scale Components Combined with High-Voltage Environmental Electron Microscopy

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A novel experimental method that enables evaluation of interfacial strength of micro-components subjected to well-controlled various environments is proposed. The method combines a high-voltage transmission electron microscope (HVEM) equipped with an open type environmental cell (EC) and a quantitative nano-mechanical holder. The experiments were conducted by using focused-ion-beam-processed micro-cantilever specimens containing interfaces of dissimilar materials (silicon (Si) and copper (Cu)). The in situ observation of fracture phenomenon along a target interface (Si/Cu) and the simultaneous measurement of fracture load were successfully implemented under vacuum and gaseous environments (N2 gas and N2/H2 mixed gas) whose maximum pressure was controlled at 5 × 103 Pa. The stress distribution at the onset of fracture was calculated in detail by finite element analysis. The strength against interfacial debonding was then evaluated by the local normal stress value at the interface free-edge. The proposed technique, which can also be combined with simultaneous electron probe analyses, is highly versatile when compared to the conventional nano-mechanical strength evaluations under limited environments.

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The present study was performed under the auspices of Reaction science/Nanomaterials science Research support base of Microstructure Analysis Platform in ‘Nanotechnology Platform Project’ by MEXT, Japan. Y. T. of the authors is also grateful to financial support by: JSPS KAKENHI Nos. 23234567 (Research Activity Start-up), 25709003 (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists A), 25000012 (Specially Promoted Research); the Kansai University Grant-in-Aid for progress of research in graduate course (2012).

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Correspondence to Y. Takahashi.

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Takahashi, Y., Arai, S., Yamamoto, Y. et al. Evaluation of Interfacial Fracture Strength in Micro-Scale Components Combined with High-Voltage Environmental Electron Microscopy. Exp Mech 55, 1047–1056 (2015).

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  • Interface
  • Micro-components
  • Strength evaluation
  • Environmental cell
  • HVEM