Advanced numerical characterization of silicon with defect by nanoindentation

Fu, Qiang (2012) Advanced numerical characterization of silicon with defect by nanoindentation. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Nano silicon is widely used as the essential element of complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) and solar cells. It is recognized that today, large portion of world economy is built on electronics products and related services. Due to the accessible fossil fuel running out quickly, there are increasing numbers of researches on the nano silicon solar cells.

The further improvement of higher performance nano silicon components requires characterizing the material properties of nano silicon. Specially, when the manufacturing process scales down to the nano level, the advanced components become more and more sensitive to the various defects induced by the manufacturing process.

It is known that defects in mono-crystalline silicon have significant influence on its properties under nanoindentation. However, the cost involved in the practical nanoindentation as well as the complexity of preparing the specimen with controlled defects slow down the further research on mechanical characterization of defected silicon by experiment. Therefore, in current study, the molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are employed to investigate the mono-crystalline silicon properties with different pre-existing defects, especially cavities, under nanoindentation.

Parametric studies including specimen size and loading rate, are firstly conducted to optimize computational efficiency. The optimized testing parameters are utilized for all simulation in defects study. Based on the validated model, different pre-existing defects are introduced to the silicon substrate, and then a group of nanoindentation simulations of these defected substrates are carried out. The simulation results are carefully investigated and compared with the perfect Silicon substrate which used as benchmark. It is found that pre-existing cavities in the silicon substrate obviously influence the mechanical properties. Furthermore, pre-existing cavities can absorb part of the strain energy during loading, and then release during unloading, which possibly causes less plastic deformation to the substrate. However, when the pre-existing cavities is close enough to the deformation zone or big enough to exceed the bearable stress of the crystal structure around the spherical cavity, the larger plastic deformation occurs which leads the collapse of the structure. Meanwhile, the influence exerted on the mechanical properties of silicon substrate depends on the location and size of the cavity. Substrate with larger cavity size or closer cavity position to the top surface, usually exhibits larger reduction on Young’s modulus and hardness.

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ID Code: 54621
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gu, YuanTong
Keywords: Nano silicon, metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS), solar cells
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 06 Nov 2012 01:13
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 11:41

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