This paper presents a microstructure-based mechanism which elucidates seams as a source of density change and voids as a source of plastic deformation, accompanied by a viscous flow. This theory was then applied to explain a series of experimental results that are related to thermal cycling of amorphous dielectric films, such as plasma-enhanced physical vapor deposited (PECVD) silicon oxide (SiOx) films, including stress hysteresis generation and reduction and coefficient of thermal-expansion changes. In particular, the thickness effect was examined; PECVD SiOx films with a thickness varying from 1 to 40 µm were studied, as certain demanding applications in Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) require such thick films serving as heat/electrical insulation layers.
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This work is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) under contract no F49620-03-1-0078. The authors would like to thank Professor Kuo-Shen Chen at the Taiwan National Cheng-Kung University for his earlier contributions to the related work.
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Cao, Z., Zhang, X. Thickness-dependent Structural Relaxation of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposited Silicon Oxide Films during Thermal Processing. MRS Online Proceedings Library 854, U8.1 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-854-U8.1