Residual stress effects on the fracture of tantalum nitride films

N. R. Moody, R. Q. Hwang, J. E. Angelo, S. Venkataraman, William W Gerberich

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this study, continuous microscratch testing was used to determine the effects of compressive residual stresses on the fracture of thin tantalum nitride films. The films were sputter deposited at room temperature onto single crystal sapphire substrates to a thickness of 600 nm. Some films were left in the as-deposited condition while the remaining films were vacuum annealed at 300°C. The only discernible change in structure was a surface rearrangement of atoms into parallel arrays of striations on the vacuum annealed samples revealing a high compressive residual stress in the films. These stresses had a strong effect on fracture as shown by the as-deposited films which buckled readily during scratch tests forming uniform-width and circular blisters while the vacuum annealed films exhibited a much lower susceptibility to fracture. Application of mechanics-based models for film buckling defined the levels of compressive residual stress and their effect on interfacial fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
EventProceedings of the 1996 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Dec 2 1996Dec 6 1996


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