Nanoindentation study of buckling and friction of silicon nanolines
Silicon-based nanostructures are essential building blocks for nanoelectronic devices and nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS). As the silicon device size continues to scale down, the surface to volume ratio becomes larger, rendering the properties of surfaces and interfaces more important for improving the properties of the nano-devices and systems. One of those properties is the friction, which is important in controlling the functionality and reliability of the nano-device and systems. The goal of this dissertation is to investigate the deformation and friction behaviors of single crystalline silicon nanolines (SiNLs) using nanoindentation techniques. Following an introduction and a summary of the theoretical background of contact friction in Chapters 1 and 2, the results of this thesis are presented in three chapters. In Chapter 3, the fabrication of the silicon nanolines is described. The fabrication method yielded high-quality single-crystals with line width ranging from 30nm to 90nm and height to width aspect ratio ranging from 10 to 25. These SiNL structures have properties and dimensions well suited for the study of the mechanical and friction behaviors at the nanoscale. In Chapter 4, we describe the study of the mechanical properties of SiNLs using the nanoindentation method. The loading-displacement curves show that the critical load to induce the buckling of the SiNLs can be correlated to the contact friction and geometry of SiNLs. A map was built as a guideline to describe the selection of buckling modes. The map was divided into three regions where different regions correlate to different buckling modes including Mode I, Mode II and slidingbending of SiNLs. In Chapter 5, we describe the study of the contact friction of the SiNL structures. The friction coefficient at the contact was extracted from the loaddisplacement curves. Subsequently, the frictional shear stress was evaluated. In addition, the effect of the interface between the indenter and SiNLs was investigated using SiNLs with surfaces coated by a thin silicon dioxide or chromium film. The material of the interface was found to influence significantly the contact friction and its behavior. Cyclic loading-unloading experiments showed the friction coefficient dramatically changed after only a few loading cycles, indicating the contact history is important in controlling the friction behaviors of SiNLs at nanoscales. This thesis is concluded with a summary of the results and proposed future studies.