November 25, 2020

Effect of oxidation on intrinsic residual stress in amorphous silicon carbide films

The change in residual stress in plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition amorphous silicon carbide silicon carbide abrasive(a-SiC:H) films exposed to air and wet ambient environments is investigated. A close relationship between stress change and deposition condition is identified from mechanical and chemical characterization of a-SiC:H films. Evidence of amorphous silicon carbide films reacting with oxygen and water vapor in the ambient environment are presented. The effect of deposition parameters on oxidation and stress variation in a-SiC:H film is studied. It is found that the films deposited at low temperature or power are susceptible to oxidation and undergo a notable increase in compressive stress over time. Furthermore, the films deposited at sufficiently high temperature (≥325 C) and power density (≥0.2 W cm-2 ) do not exhibit pronounced oxidation or temporal stress variation. These results serve as the basis for developing amorphous silicon carbide based dielectric encapsulation for implantable medical devices.