Residual stresses in thin film systems: Effects of lattice mismatch, thermal mismatch and interface dislocations

Alireza Moridi, Haihui Ruan, L. C. Zhang, Mei Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the mechanisms of the residual stress generation in thin film systems with large lattice mismatch strain, aiming to underpin the key mechanism for the observed variation of residual stress with the film thickness. Thermal mismatch, lattice mismatch and interface misfit dislocations caused by the disparity of the material layers were investigated in detail. The study revealed that the thickness-dependence of the residual stresses found in experiments cannot be elucidated by thermal mismatch, lattice mismatch, or their coupled effect. Instead, the interface misfit dislocations play the key role, leading to the variation of residual stresses in the films of thickness ranging from 100 nm to 500 nm. The agreement between the theoretical analysis and experimental results indicates that the effect of misfit dislocation is far-reaching and that the elastic analysis of dislocation, resolved by the finite element method, is sensible in predicting the residual stress distribution. It was quantitatively confirmed that dislocation density has a significant effect on the overall film stresses, but dislocation distribution has a negligible influence. Since the lattice mismatch strain varies with temperature, it was finally confirmed that the critical dislocation density that leads to the measured residual stress variation with film thickness should be determined from the lattice mismatch strain at the deposition temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3562-3569
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number22-23
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical dislocation density
  • Dislocation
  • Lattice mismatch
  • Residual stress
  • Thermal mismatch
  • Thickness-dependence
  • Thin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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