Advances in Thin Film Nanoindentation

  • B. Zhou
  • K. Schwieker
  • B. C. Prorok
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


A new model of thin film indentation that accounted for an apparent discontinuity in elastic strain transfer at the film/substrate interface was developed. Finite element analysis suggested that numerical values of strain were not directly continuous across the interface; the values in the film were higher when a soft film was deposited on a hard substrate. The new model was constructed based on this discontinuity; whereby, separate weighting factors were applied to account for the influence of the substrate in strain developed in the film and vice-versa. By comparing the model to experimental data from thirteen different amorphous thin film materials on a silicon substrate, constants in each weighting factor were found to have physical significance in being numerically similar to the bulk scale Poisson’s ratios of the materials involved. When employing these material properties in the new model it was found to provide an improved match to the experimental data over the existing Doerner and Nix and Gao models. Finally, the model was found to be capable of assessing the Young’s modulus of thin films that do not exhibit a flat region as long as the bulk Poisson’s ratio is known.


Silicon Substrate Indent Depth Discontinuous Model Continuous Stiffness Measurement Giant Magnetostrictive Material 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ahn JH, Kwon D (2000) Micromechanical estimation of composite hardness using nanoindentation technique for thin-film coated system. Mater Sci Eng A 285:172-179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bolshakov A, Pharr GM (1998) Influences of pileup on the measurement of mechanical properties by load and depth sensing indentation techniques. J. Mater. Res 13:1049-1058.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chen X, Vlassak JJ (2001) Numerical study on the measurement of thin film mechanical properties by means of nanoindentation. J. Mater. Res. 16:2974-2982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cho SJ, Lee KR, Eun KY, Hahn JH, Ko DH (1999) Determination of elastic modulus and poisson's ratio of diamond-like carbon films. Thin Solid Films 341:207-210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Doerner MF, Nix WD (1986) A method for interpreting data from depth-sensing indentation instruments. J. Mater. Res. 1:601-609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frohlich F, Grau P, Grellmann W (1977) Performance and Analysis of Recording Microhardness Tests. Phys. Status Solid a 42:79-89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Huang Y, Aziz MJ, Hutchinson JW, Evans AG, Saha R, Nix WD (2001) Comparison of mechanical properties of Ni3Al thin films in disordered FCC and ordered L12 phases. Acta Mater. 49:2853-2861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Li X, Bhushan B (2002) A review of nanoindentation continuous stiffness measurement technique and its applications. Mater. Char. 48:11-36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Li X, Diao D, Bhushan B (1997) Fracture mechanisms of thin amorphous carbon films in nanoindentation. Acta Mater. 45:4453-4461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mayo MJ, Siegel RW, Narayanasamy A, Nix WD (1990) Mechanical Properties of Nanophase TiO2 as Determined by Nanoindentation. J. Mater. Res. 5:1073-1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    McElhaney KW, Vlassak JJ, Nix WD (1998) Determination of indenter tip geometry and indentation contact area for depth-sensing indentation experiments. J. Mater. Res. 13:1300-1306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mencik J, Munz D, Quandt E, Weppelmann ER, Swain MV (1997) Determination of elastic modulus of thin layers using nanoindentation. J. Mater. Res 1997:2475-2484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nix WD (1997) Elastic and plastic properties of thin films on substrates: nanoindentation techniques. Mater. Sci Eng. A 234:37-44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nix WD, Gao H (1998) Indentation size effects in crystalline materials: A law for strain gradient plasticity. J. Mech. Phys. Sol. 46:411-425.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nix WD, Greer JR, Feng G, Lilleodden ET (2007) Deformation at the nanometer and micrometer length scales: Effects of strain gradients and dislocation starvation. Thin Solid Films 515:3152-3157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Oliver WC (1986) Progress in the Development of a Mechanical Properties Microprobe. MRS Bull. 11:15-19.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Oliver WC, Pharr GM (1992) Improved Technique for Determining Hardness and Elastic Modulus Using Load and Displacement Sensing Indentation Eexperiments. Journal of Materials Research 7:1564-1583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pharr GM (1998) Measurement of mechanical properties by ultra-low load indentation. Mat. Sci. & Eng. A:151-159.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pharr GM, Callahan DL, McAdams SD, Tsui TY, Anders S, Anders A, Ager Iii JW, Brown IG, Bhatia CS, Silva SRP (1996) Hardness, elastic modulus, and structure of very hard carbon films produced by cathodic-arc deposition with substrate pulse biasing. Appl. Phys. Lett. 68:779-781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Saha R, Nix WD (2002) Effects of the substrate on the determination of thin film mechanical properties by nanoindentation. Acta Mater. 50:23-38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gao H, Chiu C-H, Lee J (1992) Elastic Contact versus Indentation Modelling of Multi-Layered Materials. Int. J. Solids Structures 29:2471-2492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    King RB (1987) Elastic Analysis of Some Punch Problems for a Layered Medium. International Journal of Solids and Structures 23:1657-1664.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Buckle H (1973) The Science of Hardness Testing and its Research Applications. ASM, Metals Park, Ohio.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    King RB (1987) Elastic Analysis of Some Punch Problems for a Layered Medium. Int. J. Solids Struct. 23:1657-1664.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pastorelli R, Ferrari AC, Beghi MG, Bottani CE, Robertson J (2000) Elastic constants of ultrathin diamond-like carbon films. Diam. Relat. Mater. 9:825-830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bhushan B, Li X (1997) Micromechanical and tribological characterization of doped single-crystal silicon and polysilicon films for microelectromechanical systems devices. J. Mater. Res. 12:54-63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wortman JJ, Evans RA (1965) Young's Modulus, Shear Modulus, and Poisson's Ratio in Silicon and Germanium. J. Appl. Phys. 36:153-156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stillwell NA, Tabor D (1961) Elastic Recovery of Conical Indentations. Proc. R. Soc. 78:169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Erdemir A, Eryilmaz OL, Fenske G (2000) Synthesis of diamondlike carbon films with superlow friction and wear properties. J. Vac. Sci. Tech. A 18:1987-1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhou B, Wang L, Mehta N, Morshed S, Erdemir A, Eryilmaz O, Prorok BC (2006) The mechanical properties of freestanding near-frictionless carbon films relevant to MEMS. J. Micromech. Microeng. 16:1374-1381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Prorok BC, Espinosa HD (2002) Effects of nanometer-thick passivation layers on the mechanical response of thin gold films. J. Nanosci. Nanotech. 2:427-433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Espinosa HD, Prorok BC, Fischer M (2003) A methodology for determining mechanical properties of freestanding thin films and MEMS materials. J. Mech. Phys. Sol. 51:47-67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Espinosa HD, Prorok BC, Peng B (2004) Plasticity size effects in free-standing submicron polycrystalline FCC films subjected to pure tension. J. Mech. Phys. Sol. 52:667-689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    El Khakani MA, Chaker M, Jean A, Boily S, Kieffer JC, O'Hern ME, Ravet MF, Rousseaux F (1994) Hardness and Young's Modulus of Amorphous a-SiC Thin Films Determined by Nanoindentation and Bulge Tests. J. Mater. Res. 9:96-103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pang X, Gao K, Yang H, Qiao L, Wang Y, Volinsky A (2007) Interfacial Microstructure of Chromium Oxide Coatings. Adv. Eng. Mater. 9:594-599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mizuno S, Verma A, Tran H, Lee P, Nguyen B (1996) Dielectric constant and stability of fluorine doped PECVD silicon oxide thin films. Thin Solid Films 283:30-36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Mober A (2008) Blast Cleaning Technology. Springer, Berlin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Shackelford JF, Alexander W (2001) CRC Materials Science and Engineering Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hess P (1996) Laser diagnostics of mechanical and elastic properties of silicon and carbon films. Appl. Surf. Sci. 106:429-437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Boch P, Glandus JC, Jarrige J, Lecompte JP, Mexmain J (1982) Sintering, oxidation and mechanical properties of hot pressed aluminum nitride. Ceram. Int. 8:34-40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Engdahl G (2000) Handbook of Giant Magnetostrictive Materials. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Liang C, Morshed S, Prorok BC (2007) Correction for Longitudinal Mode Vibration in Thin Slender Beams. Appl. Phys. Lett. 90:221912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ferrari AC (2004) Diamond-like carbon for magnetic storage disks. Surf. Coat. Tech. 180:190-206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations