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Microstructure evolution of gold thin films under spherical indentation for micro switches contact applications

Abstract : RF MEMS (Radio Frequency Micro Electro Mechanical System) switches are promising devices but their gold-on-gold contacts, assimilated for this work to a sphere / plane contact, represent a major reliability issue. A first step towards failure mechanism understanding is the investigation of the contact metal microstructure evolution under static and cyclic loading. After static and cyclic loading of sputtered gold thin films under spherical indentation, high resolution Electron Back Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) is used to investigate contact area. Grain rotation against {111} fiber texture of 1 μm thick sputtered gold thin film is a signature of plastic deformation. Grain rotation is observed above 1.6 mN under static loading by a spherical diamond indenter with 50 μm tip radius. A heterogeneity in grain rotation is observed corresponding to a more important plastic deformation in the middle of the indent than at the edge. A 30° Grain rotation is observed for a half million mechanical cycles under 300 μN load by a spherical gold tip (20 μm radius) due to cyclic work hardening. The same test in hot switching mode induces a grain growth in the contact area. Therefore thermal effects occurring during hot switching are underlined
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Submitted on : Monday, January 10, 2011 - 1:09:15 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 4:18:20 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 2:16:53 AM


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  • HAL Id : emse-00554023, version 1


Brice Arrazat, Vincent Mandrillon, Karim Inal, Maxime Vincent, Christophe Poulain. Microstructure evolution of gold thin films under spherical indentation for micro switches contact applications. European Materials Research Society 2010, Jun 2010, Strasbourg, France. ⟨emse-00554023⟩



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