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Strength and fracture of Si micropillars: A new scanning electron microscopy-based micro-compression test

  • B. Moser (a1), K. Wasmer (a1), L. Barbieri (a2) and J. Michler (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2011

A novel method for in situ scanning electron microscope (SEM) micro-compression tests is presented. The direct SEM observation during the instrumented compression testing allows for very efficient positioning and assessment of the failure mechanism. Compression tests on micromachined Si pillars with volumes down to 2 μm3 are performed inside the SEM, and the results demonstrate the potential of the method. In situ observation shows that small diameter pillars tend to buckle while larger ones tend to crack before failure. Compressive strength increases with decreasing pillar diameter and reaches almost 9 GPa for submicrometer diameter pillars. This result is in agreement with earlier bending experiments on Si. Difficulties associated with precise strain measurements are discussed.

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Journal of Materials Research
  • ISSN: 0884-2914
  • EISSN: 2044-5326
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