In situ compression tests on micro-sized silicon pillars by Raman microscopy – Stress measurements and deformation analysis

K. Wasmer; T. Wermelinger; A. Bidiville; R. Spolenak; J. Michler

Journal of Materials Research 23 (2008) 3040-3047

Mechanical properties of silicon are of high interest to the microelectromechanical systems community as it is the most frequently used structural material. Compression tests on 8 μm diameter silicon pillars were performed under a micro-Raman setup. The uniaxial stress in the micropillars was derived from a load cell mounted on a microindenter and from the Raman peak shift. Stress measurements from the load cell and from the micro-Raman spectrum are in excellent agreement. The average compressive failure strength measured in the middle of the micropillars is 5.1 GPa. Transmission electron microscopy investigation of compressed micropillars showed cracks at the pillar surface or in the core. A correlation between crack formation and dislocation activity was observed. The authors strongly believe that the combination of nanoindentation and micro-Raman spectroscopy allowed detection of cracks prior to failure of the micropillar, which also allowed an estimation of the in-plane stress in the vicinity of the crack tip. © 2008 Materials Research Society.