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Blistering mechanisms of atomic-layer-deposited AlN and Al2O3 films

: Broas, M.; Jiang, H.; Graff, A.; Sajavaara, T.; Vuorinen, V.; Paulasto-Kröckel, M.


Applied Physics Letters 111 (2017), No.14, Art. 141606, 5 pp.
ISSN: 0003-6951 (Print)
ISSN: 1077-3118
ISSN: 1931-9401 (online)
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMWS ()

Blistering of protective, structural, and functional coatings is a reliability risk pestering films ranging from elemental to ceramic ones. The driving force behind blistering comes from either excess hydrogen at the film-substrate interface or stress-driven buckling. Contrary to the stress-driven mechanism, the hydrogen-initiated one is poorly understood. Recently, it was shown that in the bulk Al-Al2O3 system, the blistering is preceded by the formation of nano-sized cavities on the substrate. The stress- and hydrogen-driven mechanisms in atomic-layer-deposited (ALD) films are explored here. We clarify issues in the hydrogen-related mechanism via high-resolution microscopy and show that at least two distinct mechanisms can cause blistering in ALD films.