The fracture toughness of polysilicon microdevices: A first report


Polysilicon microfracture specimens were fabricated using surface micromachining techniques identical to those used to fabricate microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. The nominal critical J-integral (the critical energy release rate) for crack initiation, Jc, was determined in specimens whose characteristic dimensions were of the same order of magnitude as the grain size of the polysilicon. Jc values ranged from 16 to 62 N/m, approximately a factor of four larger than Jc values reported for single crystal silicon.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


  1. 1.

    J. A. Connally and S. B. Brown, Science 256, 1537 (1992).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    L. S. Fan, R. T. Howe, and R. S. Muller, Sensors and Actuators A21–A23, 872 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    F. Ericson and J. A. Schweitz, J. Appl. Phys. 68, 5840 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    S. Johansson, F. Ericson, and J. A. Schweitz, J. Appl. Phys. 65, 122 (1989).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    H. Kahn, S. Stemmer, K. Nandakumar, R. L. Mullen, R. Ballarini, M. A. Huff, and A. H. Heuer, IEEE Proc. 9th Annual Int. Workshop on Microelectromechanical Systems, San Diego, CA, 343 (1996).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    T. I. Kamins and T. R. Cass, Thin Solid Films 16, 147 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    A. van der Drift, Philips Res. Repts. 22, 267 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    S. W. Freiman, Bull. Am. Ceram. Soc. 67 (2), 392 (1988).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    J. Sakata, Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories, Nagakute, Aichi 480-11, Japan, private communication, October 21, 1996.

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. Ballarini.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ballarini, R., Mullen, R.L., Yin, Y. et al. The fracture toughness of polysilicon microdevices: A first report. Journal of Materials Research 12, 915–922 (1997).

Download citation