U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Materials Science and Engineering A 435–436 (2006) 453–459.


The effect of deposition conditions on characteristic mechanical properties – elastic modulus and hardness – of low-temperature PECVD silicon nitrides is investigated using nanoindentation. It is found that increase in substrate temperature, increase in plasma power and decrease in chamber gas pressure all result in increases in elastic modulus and hardness. Strong correlations between the mechanical properties and film density are demonstrated. The silicon nitride density in turn is shown to be related to the chemical composition of the films, particularly the silicon/nitrogen ratio.