Nanoindentation Of Si Nanostructures: Buckling And Friction At Nanoscales
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A nanoindentation system was employed to characterize mechanical properties of silicon nanolines (SiNLs), which were fabricated by an anisotropic wet etching (AWE) process. The SiNLs had the linewidth ranging from 24 nm to 90 nm, having smooth and vertical sidewalls and the aspect ratio (height/linewidth) from 7 to 18. During indentation, a buckling instability was observed at a critical load, followed by a displacement burst without a load increase, then a full recovery of displacement upon unloading. This phenomenon was explained by two bucking modes. It was also found that the difference in friction at the contact between the indenter and SiNLs directly affected buckling response of these nanolines. The friction coefficient was estimated to be in a range of 0.02 to 0.05. For experiments with large indentation displacements, irrecoverable indentation displacements were observed due to fracture of Si nanolines, with the strain to failure estimated to be from 3.8% to 9.7%. These observations indicated that the buckling behavior of SiNLs depended on the combined effects of load, line geometry, and the friction at contact. This study demonstrated a valuable approach to fabrication of well-defined Si nanoline structures and the application of the nanoindentation method for investigation of their mechanical properties at the nanoscale.