In microelectronic industry, thin polymer layers are one of the more commonly used product constituents. Examples are glue layers, coatings, and dielectric layers. The thicknesses of these films vary from a few tens of nanometers to over a hundred micrometers. Since at film thicknesses below 100nm the thermal and mechanical properties start to deviate from those in the bulk, adequate characterization techniques are required. In the present paper we will report the results of an extensive literature search on the state-of-the-art of thermo-mechanical thin film characterization methods, such as the substrate curvature test, nanoindentation technique, bulge test, and impulsive stimulated thermal scattering.

1.
Okoroanyanwu
,
U.
, 2000, “
Thin Film Instabilities and Implications for Ultrathin Resist Processes
,”
J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B
0734-211X,
18
, pp.
3381
3387
.
2.
Jiang
,
Q.
,
Shi
,
H. X.
, and
Li
,
J. C.
, 1999, “
Finite Size Effect on Glass Transition Temperatures
,”
Thin Solid Films
0040-6090,
354
, pp.
283
286
.
3.
Jerome
,
B.
, and
Commandeur
,
J.
, 1997, “
Dynamics of Glasses Below the Glass Transition
,”
Nature (London)
0028-0836,
386
, p.
589
.
4.
Jerome
,
B.
, 1999, “
Dynamics of Glass-Forming Materials Confined in Thin Films
,”
J. Phys.: Condens. Matter
0953-8984,
11
, pp.
A189
A197
.
5.
Prucker
,
O.
,
Christian
,
S.
,
Bock
,
H.
,
Ruehe
,
J.
,
Frank
,
C. W.
, and
Knoll
,
W.
, 1998, “
On the Glass Transition in Ultrathin Polymer Films of Different Molecular Architecture
,”
Macromol. Chem. Phys.
1022-1352,
199
, p.
1435
.
6.
Torres
,
J. A.
,
Nealey
,
P. F.
, and
de Pablo
,
J. J.
, 2000, “
Molecular Simulation of Ultrathin Polymeric Films Near the Glass Transition
,”
Phys. Rev. Lett.
0031-9007,
85
, p.
3221
.
7.
Zhao
,
J. H.
,
Kiene
,
M.
,
Hu
,
C.
, and
Ho
,
P. S.
, 2000, “
Thermal Stress and Glass Transition of Ultrathin Polystyrene Films
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
77
, pp.
2843
2846
.
8.
Frank
,
C. W.
,
Rao
,
V.
,
Despotopoulou
,
M. M.
,
Rease
,
R. F. W.
,
Hinsberg
,
W. D.
,
Miller
,
R. D.
, and
Rabolt
,
J. F.
, 1996, “
Structure in Thin and Ultrathin Spin-Cast Polymer Films
,”
Science
0036-8075,
273
, p.
912
.
9.
Stoney
,
G. G.
, 1909, “
The Tension of Metallic Films Deposited by Electrolysis
,”
Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A
1364-5021,
82
, pp.
172
175
.
10.
Klein
,
C. A.
, 2000, “
How Accurate are Stoney’s Equation and Recent Modifications
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
88
, pp.
5499
5500
.
11.
Freund
,
L. B.
,
Floro
,
J. A.
, and
Chason
,
E.
, 1999, “
Extensions of the Stoney Formula for Substrate Curvature to Configurations With Thin Substrates or Large Deformations
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
74
, pp.
1987
1989
.
12.
Zhao
,
J. H.
,
Ryan
,
T.
,
Ho
,
P. S.
,
McKerrow
,
A. J.
, and
Shih
,
W.-Y.
, 2000, “
On-Wafer Characterization of Thermomechanical Properties of Dielectric Thin Films by a Bending Beam Technique
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
88
, pp.
3029
3038
.
13.
Lee
,
S. H.
, and
Bae
,
Y. C.
, 2000, “
Thermal Stress Analysis for Polyimide Thin Film and a Substrate Layer System
,”
Macromol. Chem. Phys.
1022-1352,
201
, pp.
1286
1291
.
14.
Kim
,
J. S.
,
Paik
,
K. W.
, and
Oh
,
S. H.
, 1999, “
The Multilayer-Modified Stoney’s Formula for Laminated Polymer Composites on a Silicon Substrate
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
86
, pp.
5474
5479
.
15.
Klein
,
C. A.
, 2000, “
Comment on ‘The Multilayer-Modified Stoney’s Formula for Laminated Polymer Composites on a Silicon Substrate’
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
88
, pp.
5499
5500
.
16.
Hsueh
,
C. H.
,
Lee
,
S.
, and
Chuang
,
T. J.
, 2003, “
An Alternative Method for Multilayer Bending Problems
,”
ASME J. Appl. Mech.
0021-8936,
70
, pp.
151
154
.
17.
Kook
,
H. J.
, and
Kim
,
D.
, 2000, “
In Situ Measurements and Analysis of Imidization Extent, Thickness, and Stress During the Curing of Polyimide Films
,”
J. Mater. Sci.
0022-2461,
35
, pp.
2949
2954
.
18.
Zhao
,
J. H.
,
Kiene
,
M.
,
Hu
,
C.
, and
Ho
,
P. S.
, 2000, “
Thermal Stress and Glass Transition of Ultrathin Polystyrene Films
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
77
, pp.
2843
2845
.
19.
Oliver
,
W. C.
, and
Pharr
,
G. M.
, 1992, “
An Improved Technique for Determining Hardness and Elastic Modulus Using Load and Displacement Sensing Indentation Experiments
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
6
, pp.
1564
1583
.
20.
Bolshakov
,
A.
, and
Pharr
,
G. M.
, 1998, “
Influences of Pileup on the Measurement of Mechanical Properties by Load and Depth Sensing Indentation Techniques
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
13
, pp.
1049
1058
.
21.
Hay
,
J. C.
,
Bolshakov
,
A.
, and
Pharr
,
G. M.
, 1999, “
A Critical Examination of the Fundamental Relations Used in the Analysis of Nanoindentation Data
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
14
, pp.
2296
2305
.
22.
Cheng
,
Y. T.
, and
Cheng
,
C. M.
, 1999, “
Scaling Relationships in Conical Indentation of Elastic Perfecly Plastic Solids
,”
Int. J. Solids Struct.
0020-7683,
36
, pp.
1231
1243
.
23.
King
,
R. B.
, 1987, “
Elastic Analysis of Some Punch Problems for a Layered Medium
,”
Int. J. Solids Struct.
0020-7683,
23
, p.
1657
.
24.
Gao
,
P.
, and
Yuan
,
Z.
, 1999, “
Development of a Micromechanical Probe-Measuring Instrument for Surface Properties Characterization
,”
Meas. Sci. Technol.
0957-0233,
10
, pp.
N105
N108
.
25.
Oliver
,
W. C.
, 2001, “
Alternative Technique for Analyzing Instrumented Indentation Data
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
16
, pp.
3202
3206
.
26.
VanLandingham
,
M. R.
,
Villarrubia
,
J. S.
,
Guthrie
,
W. F.
, and
Meyers
,
G. F.
, 2001, “
Nanoindentation of Polymers: An Overview
,”
Macromol. Symp.
1022-1360,
167
, pp.
15
44
.
27.
Jennett
,
N. M.
, and
Meneve
,
J.
, 1998, “
Fundamentals of Nanoindentation and Nanotribology
,”
Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc.
0272-9172,
522
, p.
239
.
28.
Gerberich
,
W. W.
,
Yu
,
W.
,
Kramer
,
D.
,
Strojny
,
A.
,
Bahr
,
D.
,
Lilleodden
,
E.
, and
Nelson
,
J.
, 1998, “
Elastic Loading and Elasto-Plastic Unloading…
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
13
, pp.
421
439
.
29.
Saunders
,
S. R. J.
,
Sharfirstein
,
G.
,
Jennett
,
N. M.
,
Osgerby
,
S.
,
Meneve
,
J.
,
Smith
,
J. F.
,
Vetters
,
H.
, and
Haupt
,
J.
, 1996,
Philos. Mag. A
0141-8610,
74
, p.
1129
.
30.
Briscoe
,
B. J.
,
Sebastian
,
K. S.
, and
Adams
,
M. J.
, 1994, “
The Effect of Indentor Geometry on the Elastic Response to Indentation
,”
J. Phys. D
0022-3727,
27
(
6
), pp.
1156
1162
.
31.
Beams
,
J. W.
, 1959, in
Structure and Properties of Thin Films
, edited by
Neugebauer
,
C. A.
,
Newkirk
,
J. B.
, and
Vermilyea
,
D. A.
,
Wiley
, New York, p.
183
.
32.
Tsakalakos
,
T.
, 1981, “
The Bulge Test: A Comparison of the Theory and Experiment for Isotropic and Anisotropic Films
,”
Thin Solid Films
0040-6090,
75
, p.
293
.
33.
Zheng
,
D. W.
,
Xu
,
Y. H.
,
Tsai
,
Y. P.
,
Tu
,
K. N.
,
Patterson
,
P.
,
Zhao
,
B.
,
Liu
,
Q. Z.
, and
Brongo
,
M.
, 2000, “
Mechanical Property Measurement of Thin Polymeric-Low Dielectric-Constant Films Using Bulge Testing Method
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
76
, pp.
2008
2010
.
34.
Small
,
M. K.
, and
Nix
,
W. D.
, 1992, “
Analysis of the Accuracy of the Bulge Test in Determining the Mechanical Properties of Thin Films
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
7
, pp.
1553
1563
.
35.
Poilane
,
C.
,
Delobelle
,
P.
,
Lexcellent
,
C.
,
Hayashi
,
S.
, and
Tobushi
,
H.
, 2000, “
Analysis of the Mechanical Behavior of Shape Memory Polymer Membranes by Nanoindentation, Bulging and Point Membrane Deflection Tests
,”
Thin Solid Films
0040-6090,
379
, pp.
156
165
.
36.
Vlassak
,
J. J.
, and
Nix
,
W. D.
, 1992, “
A New Bulge Test Technique for the Determination of Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio of Thin Films
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
7
, pp.
3242
3249
.
37.
Kalkman
,
A. J.
,
Verbruggen
,
A. H.
,
Janssen
,
G. C. A. M.
, and
Groen
,
F. G.
, 1999, “
A Novel Bulge-Testing Setup for Rectangular Free-Standing Thin Films
,”
Rev. Sci. Instrum.
0034-6748,
70
, pp.
4026
4031
.
38.
Bonnotte
,
E.
,
Delobelle
,
P.
, and
Bornier
,
L.
, 1997, “
Two Interferometric Methods for the Mechanical Characterization of Thin Films by Bulging Tests. Application to Single Crystal of Silicon
,”
J. Mater. Res.
0884-2914,
12
, pp.
2234
2248
.
39.
Wu
,
T. T.
, 1999, “
Elastic Wave Propagation and Nondestructive Evaluation of Materials
,”
Proc. Natl. Sci. Counc., Repub. China, Part A: Phys. Sci. Eng.
0255-6588,
23
, pp.
703
715
.
40.
Wu
,
T. T.
, and
Liu
,
Y. H.
, 1999, “
Inverse Determinations of Thickness and Elastic Properties of a Bonding Layer Using Laser-Generated Surface Waves
,”
Ultrasonics
0041-624X,
37
, pp.
23
30
.
41.
Duggal
,
A. R.
,
Rogers
,
J. A.
,
Nelson
,
K. A.
, and
Mordechai
,
R.
, 1992, “
Real-Time Characterization of Acoustic Modes of Polyimide Thin-Film Coatings Using Impulsive Stimulated Thermal Scattering
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
60
, pp.
692
694
.
42.
Cocson
,
J. K.
,
Hau
,
C. S.
,
Lee
,
P. M.
,
et al.
, 1995, “
Transverse Isotropic Elastic Moduli and In-Plane Thermal Diffusivity in Silicon-Supported Thin Films of a Photosensitive Polyimide Measured Using Impulsive Stimulated Thermal Scattering
,”
Polymer
0032-3861,
36
, pp.
4069
4075
.
43.
Cocson
,
J. K.
,
Hau
,
C. S.
,
Lee
,
P. M.
,
et al.
, 1995, “
Characterization of 6FDA-APBP Polyimide Films Through Impulsive Stimulated Thermal Scattering
,”
J. Mater. Sci.
0022-2461,
30
, pp.
5960
5966
.
44.
Rogers
,
J. A.
,
Yang
,
Y.
, and
Nelson
,
K. A.
, 1994, “
Elastic Modulus and In-Plane Thermal Diffusivity Measurements in Thin Polyimide Films Using Symmetry-Selective Real-Time Impulsive Stimulated Thermal Scattering
,”
Appl. Phys. A: Solids Surf.
0721-7250,
58
, pp.
523
534
.
45.
Duggal
,
A. R.
,
Rogers
,
J. A.
, and
Nelson
,
K. A.
, 1992, “
Real-Time Optical Characterization of Surface Acoustic Modes of Polyimide Thin-Film Coatings
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
72
, pp.
2823
2839
.
46.
Nishino
,
T.
,
Kotera
,
M.
,
Inayoshi
,
N.
,
et al.
, 2000, “
Residual Stress and Microstructures of Aromatic Polyimide With Different Imidization Processes
,”
Polymer
0032-3861,
41
, pp.
6913
6918
.
47.
Kim
,
J. M.
,
Chang
,
S. M.
, and
Muramatsu
,
H.
, 1999, “
Monitoring Changes in the Viscoelastic Properties of Thin Polymer Films by the Quartz Crystal Resonator
,”
Polymer
0032-3861,
40
, pp.
3291
3299
.
48.
Gorbunov
,
V. V.
,
Fuchigami
,
N.
, and
Tsukruk
,
V. V.
, 2000, “
Microthermal Probing of Ultrathin Polymer Films
,”
High Perform. Polym.
0954-0083,
12
, pp.
603
610
.
49.
Challis
,
R. E.
,
Alper
,
T.
,
Holmes
,
A. K.
, and
Cocker
,
R. P.
, 1991, “
Near-Plane-Wave Acoustic Propagation Measurements in Thin Layers of Adhesive Polymer
,”
Meas. Sci. Technol.
0957-0233,
2
, pp.
59
68
.
50.
Freemantle
,
R. J.
, and
Challis
,
R. E.
, 1998, “
Combined Compression and Shear Wave Ultrasonic Measurements on Curing Adhesive
,”
Meas. Sci. Technol.
0957-0233,
9
, pp.
1291
1302
.
51.
Carlier
,
V.
,
Sclavons
,
M.
, and
Legras
,
R.
, 2001, “
Supported Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis: An Easy, Powerful and Very Sensitive Techniq to Assess Thermal Properties of Polymer, Coating and Even Nanocoating
,”
Polymer
0032-3861,
42
, pp.
5327
5335
.
52.
Atkinson
,
A.
, 1995, “
Generation and Relief of Stress in Ceramic Films
,”
Br. Ceram. Proc.
0268-4373,
54
, p.
1
.
53.
Pharr
,
G. M.
, and
Oliver
,
W. C.
, 1992, “
Measurement of Thin Film Mechanical Properties Using Nanoindentation
,”
MRS Bull.
0883-7694,
17
, p.
28
.
54.
Mutikainen
,
R.
, 1994, “
Strained Film Deposition on Thin Substrates: Resulting Internal Strains With an Application to Prestrained and Preshaped Multilayered Membranes for a Soft-X-Ray Window
,”
J. Appl. Phys.
0021-8979,
76
, p.
4130
.
55.
Pan
,
J. Y.
,
Lin
,
P.
,
Maseeh
,
F.
, and
Senturia
,
S. D.
, 1990, “
Verification of FEM Analysis of Load-Deflection Methods for Measuring Mechanical Properties of Thin Films
,” Solid-State Sensor and Actuator Workshop, IEEE, 1990, pp.
70
73
.
56.
Banet
,
M. J.
,
Fuchs
,
M.
,
Rogers
,
J. A.
,
et al.
, 1998, “
High-Precision Film Thickness Determination Using a Laser-Based Ultrasonic Technique
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
73
, pp.
169
171
.
57.
Rogers
,
J. A.
,
Dhar
,
L.
, and
Nelson
,
K. A.
, 1994, “
Noncontact Determination of Transverse Isotropic Elastic Moduli in Polyimide Thin Films Using a Laser Based Ultrasonic Method
,”
Appl. Phys. Lett.
0003-6951,
65
, pp.
312
314
.
You do not currently have access to this content.