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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stress Relaxation Related to Spontaneous Thin Film Buckling: Correlation between Finite Element Calculations and Micro Diffraction Analysis


Compressive residual stresses generated during thin film deposition may lead to undesirable film damage, such as delamination, buckling, and flaking, ultimately leading to the failure of the device employing the film. Understanding the residual stress generation and role in these damage mechanisms is necessary to preserve thin film integrity and optimize its functional properties. Thin shell theory has been used for decades to predict buckling but the results have not yet been correlated with experimental data since the techniques used to measure stress in metallic films were not able to do so at the required micron scale until recently. Micro scanning X-ray diffraction now enables the direct mapping of the local stress of metallic films. In this paper, finite element method based on thin shell theory and synchrotron X-ray micro diffraction have been used to determine stress maps of thin film buckling patterns. Calculations of the stress distribution in the metallic films have been performed taking into account the buckling geometry determined from optical measurements. Stress distributions over gold blisters and tungsten wrinkles obtained with the two techniques are in fair agreement and allow for the accurate determination of the stress relaxation profile from the bottom to the top of the buckling, validating the thin shell theory model.

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