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Nanomechanical spectroscopy of ultrathin silicon nitride suspended membranes

TitleNanomechanical spectroscopy of ultrathin silicon nitride suspended membranes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsJugade, SS, Aggarwal, A, Naik, AK
JournalarXiv preprint arXiv:1903.02289

Mechanical properties of a nanomechanical resonator have a significant impact on the performance of a resonant Nano-electromechanical system (NEMS) device. Here we study the mechanical properties of suspended membranes fabricated out of low-pressure chemical vapor deposited silicon nitride thin films. Doubly-clamped membranes of silicon nitride with thickness less than 50 nm and length varying from 5 um to 60 um were fabricated. The elastic modulus and stress in the suspended membranes were measured using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)-based nanomechanical spectroscopy. The elastic modulus of the suspended membranes was found to be significantly higher than those of corresponding thin films on the substrate. A reduction in the net stress after the fabrication of suspended membrane was observed and is explained by estimating the contributions of thermal stress and intrinsic stress. We establish a mathematical model to calculate the normalized elastic modulus of a suspended membrane. Lastly, we study the capillary force-gradient between the SiNx suspended membrane-Si substrate that could collapse the suspended membrane.