Fracture behavior and characterization of free-standing metal silicide thin films

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The research presented in this thesis concerns brittle fracture of free-standing nanoscale thin films, specifically transition metal silicide films which have found use in EUV pellicles. Ensuring the reliability of thin film EUV pellicles requires an understanding of the mechanical properties of the thin film material, which can significantly differ from the properties of its bulk counterpart due to scale effects and differences in the microstructure.
The first half of the work aims to deepen the understanding of the link between composition, structure, and fracture strength in transition metal silicide thin films. With this goal, an experimental investigation was carried out using a combination of mechanical characterization techniques, membrane bulge test and tensile testing, with X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. The second half of the work moves its focus from fracture strength toward another important mechanical property – resistance to crack propagation, or fracture toughness. The recently developed crack-on-a-chip test method was successfully adapted for metal silicide thin films to determine their fracture toughness. Furthermore, several improvements have been made to the method, such as the addition of on-chip drawbridge-like actuators and taking into account the effect of buckling in the analysis, which enable a more detailed and accurate characterization of the fracture process.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Benschop, Jos, Supervisor
  • Bijkerk, Fred, Supervisor
  • van de Kruijs, Robbert W.E., Co-Supervisor
Award date16 Sept 2022
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5425-1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2022


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