Annealing behavior and hardness enhancement of amorphous SiCN thin films

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1407-1410
Journal / PublicationJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Amorphous silicon carbon nitrogen (SiCN) films deposited on stainless steel by radio frequency magnetron sputtering are annealed at different temperatures in hydrogen to investigate the phase transformation kinetics and the impact on film hardness. The SiCN films with polycrystalline structure are formed after annealing at 900 °C and the polycrystalline structures contain SiC, Si3 N4, and C3 N4 phases. The polycrystalline transformation is discussed using a thermodynamics mechanism. Our results reveal that the emergence of homogeneous particle reinforced composite SiCN structure and polycrystalline phases related to SiC, Si3 N4, and C3 N4 may be responsible for the hardness enhancement of the annealed SiCN films. © 2007 American Vacuum Society.