A. Roshanghias, G. Khatibi, R. Pelzer, J. Steinbrenner, J. Bernardi:
"Cross-sectional nanoindentation (CSN) studies on the effect of thickness on adhesion strength of thin films";
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics,
In this study the cross-sectional nanoindentation (CSN) technique has been employed to investigate the adhesion behavior of Titanium-Tungsten (TiW) thin films in various thicknesses on silicon substrate. Furthermore, the nanoindentation-induced blister (NIB) technique has been implemented on the same samples to evaluate the adhesion energy of the films with a different approach. The adhesion energy release rate of these thin films, derived by these two techniques, revealed a good agreement. Accordingly, the results show that as the thickness of the TiW layer increases, the adhesion toughness of the film decreases. It was suggested that three factors might be responsible for the superior adhesion strength of thin films with lower thicknesses: higher surface energy due to the smaller mean grain size; higher constraint from the substrate, which causes inferior fracture toughness of the coating and facilitates crack deflection from interface to surface; and, energy dissipation due to decohesion. The thickness dependency of the transition between delamination and decohesion mechanism in thin films has also been discussed and modelled.
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