The relationship of intrinsic stress and microstructural evolution in nanometer thick Mo and Si films, and Mo/Si multilayers deposited by magnetron sputtering at low working pressure (2.5 mTorr) is studied. The stress depends strongly on the microstructure which evolves with the film thickness. Transition from tensile to compressive films is observed in the metal films, in which nucleation and columnar grain growth occur. Deposition of layered Mo films by time-delayed sequential sputtering of thin layers results in smaller grains that do not extend through the film thickness, and in more tensile stress state than thick films of trie same thickness. The Si films are highly compressive at all thicknesses studied. The multilayers in this study show compressive stresses, with higher compressive stress at longer periods, and decreasing stress at shorter periods. The interface stress in amorphous Mo/Si multilayers is determined to be 1.1 J/m2. Comparison with values in other systems is made.
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