Surface Damage Mechanism of Monocrystalline Si Under Mechanical Loading

Qingliang Zhao, Quanli Zhang, Suet To, Bing Guo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Single-point diamond scratching and nanoindentation on monocrystalline silicon wafer were performed to investigate the surface damage mechanism of Si under the contact loading. The results showed that three typical stages of material removal appeared during dynamic scratching, and a chemical reaction of Si with the diamond indenter and oxygen occurred under the high temperature. In addition, the Raman spectra of the various points in the scratching groove indicated that the Si-I to β-Sn structure (Si-II) and the following β-Sn structure (Si-II) to amorphous Si transformation appeared under the rapid loading/unloading condition of the diamond grit, and the volume change induced by the phase transformation resulted in a critical depth (ductile–brittle transition) of cut (∼60 nm ± 15 nm) much lower than the theoretical calculated results (∼387 nm). Moreover, it also led to abnormal load–displacement curves in the nanoindentation tests, resulting in the appearance of elbow and pop-out effects (∼270 nm at 20 s, 50 mN), which were highly dependent on the loading/unloading conditions. In summary, phase transformation of Si promoted surface deformation and fracture under both static and dynamic mechanical loading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1862-1868
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Contact loading
  • ductile–brittle transition
  • fracture
  • oxidation
  • phase transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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