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Nanoindentation of Epitaxial Films: A Study of Pop-in Events

  • A. B. Mann (a1), J. B. Pethica (a1), W. D. Nix (a2) and S. Tomiya (a3)


Discontinuities in nanoindentation loading curves are frequently observed in ceramic materials. These normally occur at fairly random loads and displacements, probably due to the random distance of pre-existing defects from the indent location. Here we report the observation of reproducible, sudden indent-depth changes which occur over a very narrow distribution of depths and loads, for GaAs and a range of related epitaxial layer systems. The surface preparation and material defect density have a significant influence. Different tip geometries have been used to gain insights into the deformation processes which cause these discontinuities.



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