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Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 18, pp 6111–6117 | Cite as

Microstructure evolution of gold thin films under spherical indentation for micro switch contact applications

  • Brice ArrazatEmail author
  • Vincent Mandrillon
  • Karim Inal
  • Maxime Vincent
  • Christophe Poulain
Article

Abstract

RF MEMS (Radio Frequency Micro Electro Mechanical System) switches are promising devices but their gold-on-gold contacts, assimilated for this study to a sphere/plane contact, represent a major reliability issue. A first step toward understanding failure mechanisms is to investigate the contact metal microstructure evolution under static and cyclic loading. After static and cyclic loading of sputtered gold thin films under spherical indentation, high-resolution Electron Back Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) is used to investigate the contact area. Grain rotation against {111} fiber texture of 1-μm-thick sputtered gold thin film is a signature of plastic deformation. Grain rotation is observed above 1.6 mN under static loading using a spherical diamond indenter with 50-μm tip radius. The heterogeneity in grain rotation observed corresponds to a greater plastic deformation in the middle of the indent than at the edge. A 30° grain rotation due to cyclic work hardening is observed for a half-million mechanical cycles under 300 μN load using a spherical gold tip (20 μm radius). The same test in hot switching mode induces a grain growth in the contact area. Therefore, thermal effects occurring during hot switching are underlined.

Keywords

Pole Figure Crystallographic Texture Spherical Indentation Micro Electro Mechanical System Fiber Texture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brice Arrazat
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vincent Mandrillon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karim Inal
    • 1
  • Maxime Vincent
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christophe Poulain
    • 2
  1. 1.Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne, Armines, Centre Microélectronique de Provence—Georges CharpakGardanneFrance
  2. 2.CEA-Léti, MinatecGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Division of InnovationSchneider Electric IndustriesGrenobleFrance

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