Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 289–302 | Cite as

Fatigue damage evolution in silicon films for micromechanical applications

  • P. Shrotriya
  • S. Allameh
  • S. Brown
  • Z. Suo
  • W. O. Soboyejo


In this paper we examine the conditions for surface topography evolution and crack growth/fracture during the cyclic actuation of polysilicon microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) structures. The surface topography evolution that occurs during cyclic fatigue is shown to be stressassisted and may be predicted by linear perturbation analyses. The conditions for crack growth (due to pre-existing or nucleated cracks) are also examined within the framework of linear elastic fracture mechanics. Within this framework, we consider pre-existing cracks in the topical SiO2 layer that forms on the Si substrate in the absence of passivation. The thickening of the SiO2 that is normally observed during cyclic actuation of Si MEMS structures is shown to increase the possibility of stable crack growth by stress corrosion cracking prior to the onset of unstable crack growth in the SiO2 and Si layers. Finally, the implications of the results are discussed for the prediction of fatigue damage in silicon MEMS structures.

Key Words

Fatigue polysilicon MEMS surface topography evolution crack growth 


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Shrotriya
    • 1
  • S. Allameh
    • 1
  • S. Brown
    • 2
  • Z. Suo
    • 1
  • W. O. Soboyejo
    • 1
  1. 1.Princeton Materials Institute and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrinceton
  2. 2.Exponent Failure AssociatesNatick

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