Skip to main content

Oxidation mechanism of aluminum nitride revisited


Different from the oxidation kinetics of other nitrides, the oxide layer on AlN can easily reach tens of micrometers at a temperature above 1200 °C. In the present study, the oxidation mechanism of AlN is investigated through microstructure observation. The analysis indicates that the oxide layer is full of small pores. The formation of pores generates additional surface area to induce further reaction. The reaction thus controls the oxidation in the temperature range from 1050 to 1350 °C. The oxidation rate becomes slow as the oxide layer reaches a critical thickness.


  1. Yoshimura HN, Narita NE, Molisani AL, et al. High temperature flexural strength and fracture toughness of AlN with Y2O3 ceramic. J Mater Sci 2009, 44: 5773–5780.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Kar JP, Bose G, Tuli S, et al. Morphological investigation of aluminium nitride films on various substrates for MEMS applications. Surf Eng 2009, 25: 526–530.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Yeh C-T, Tuan W-H. Pre-oxidation of AlN substrates for subsequent metallization. J Mater Sci: Mater El 2015, 26: 5910–5916.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Iwase N, Anzai K, Shinozaki K, et al. Thick film and direct bond copper forming technologies for aluminum nitride substrate. IEEE T Compon Hybr 1985, 8: 253–258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chiang WL, Greenhut VA, Shanefield DJ, et al. Effect of substrate and pretreatment on copper to AIN direct bonds. In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials, Part 2 of 2: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, 1991, 12, DOI: 10.1002/9780470313848.ch38.

  6. Watanabe Y, Hara Y, Tokuda T, et al. Surface oxidation of alumiuium nitride thin films. Surf Eng 2000, 16: 211–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Lavrenko VA, Alexeev AF. Oxidation of sintered aluminium nitride. Ceram Int 1983, 9: 80–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Katnani AD, Papathomas KI. Kinetics and initial stages of oxidation of aluminum nitride: Thermogravimetric analysis and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy study. J Vac Sci Technol A 1987, 5: 1335–1340.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Sato T, Haryu K, Endo T, et al. High temperature oxidation of hot-pressed aluminium nitride by water vapour. J Mater Sci 1987, 22: 2277–2280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Suryanarayana D. Oxidation kinetics of aluminum nitride. J Am Ceram Soc 1990, 73: 1108–1110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bellosi A, Landi E, Tampieri A. Oxidation behavior of aluminum nitride. J Mater Res 1993, 8: 565–572.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Robinson D, Dieckmann R. Oxidation of aluminium nitride substrates. J Mater Sci 1994, 29: 1949–1957.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Osborne EW, Norton MG. Oxidation of aluminium nitride. J Mater Sci 1998, 33: 3859–3865.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Brown AL, Norton MG. Oxidation kinetics of AlN powder. J Mater Sci Lett 1998, 17: 1519–1522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Tseng WJ, Tsai C-J, Fu S-L. Oxidation, microstructure and metallization of aluminum nitride substrates. J Mater Sci: Mater El 2000, 11: 131–138.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Zhou H, Qiao L, Fu R. Effect of the fluoride additives on the oxidation of AlN. Mater Res Bull 2002, 37: 2427–2435.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Stull DR, Prophet H. JANAF Thermochemical Tables, 2nd edn. National Bureau of Standards US, 1971.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Haggerty JS, Lightfoot A, Ritter JE, et al. Oxidation and fracture strength of high-purity reaction-bonded silicon nitride. J Am Ceram Soc 1989, 72: 1675–1679.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Cannon RM, Rhodes WH, Heuer AH. Plastic deformation of fine-grained alumina (Al2O3): I, interface-controlled diffusional creep. J Am Ceram Soc 1980, 63: 46–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Nakagawa T, Nishimura H, Sakaguchi I, et al. Grain boundary character dependence of oxygen grain boundary diffusion in α-Al2O3 bicrystals. Scripta Mater 2011, 65: 544–547.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The present study was supported by the “Ministry of Science and Technology” through the Contract No. NSC100-3113-E-002-001.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wei-Hsing Tuan.

Additional information

This article is published with open access at

Rights and permissions

Open Access The articles published in this journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yeh, CT., Tuan, WH. Oxidation mechanism of aluminum nitride revisited. J Adv Ceram 6, 27–32 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • oxidation mechanism
  • aluminum nitride
  • diffusion
  • reaction