This article considers progressive cracking upon thermal cycling of a thin multilayer on a thick substrate. The prototypical system comprises a thin elastic layer of a dielectric material above another thin metal interconnect layer attached to a silicon substrate. Residual stresses exist because of the thermal expansion misfit and due to deposition. Putative fabrication flaws are presumed to be present in the dielectric. When activated by residual stresses these flaws can induce cracks that channel along the dielectric. Conditions that induce yielding of the metal upon initial cooling are shown to exacerbate this phenomenon. Moreover, subsequent thermal cycling may induce ratcheting, wherein cracks develop progressively due to repeated yielding of the metal layer. The roles of initial stress, cyclic temperature amplitude, and interconnect yield strength in these phenomena are investigated using finite element models which explicitly account for cyclic yielding. The most deleterious situation is found to be that wherein the entire metal layer reaches yield at some stage during the temperature cycle. Several scenarios relevant to semiconductor devices are considered.
Progressive Cracking of a Multilayer System Upon Thermal Cycling
Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received by the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, December 22, 1999; final revision, November 7, 2000. Associate Editor: K. Ravi-Chandar. Discussion on the paper should be addressed to the Editor, Professor Lewis T. Wheeler, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-4792, and will be accepted until four months after final publication of the paper itself in the ASME JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS.
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Begley, M. R., and Evans, A. G. (November 7, 2000). "Progressive Cracking of a Multilayer System Upon Thermal Cycling ." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. July 2001; 68(4): 513–520. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1379529
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