10 December 2001 Measurement of the elastic constants of nanometric films
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Carbon coatings of thickness down to 2 nanometers are needed to increase the storage density in magnetic hard disks and reach the 100 Gbit/in2 target. Methods to measure the properties of these ultrathin hard films still have to be developed. We show that combining Surface Brillouin Scattering (SBS) and x-ray reflectivity measurements the elastic constants of such films are accessible. Tetrahedral amorphous carbon films of thickness down to about 2 nm were deposited on Si by an S bend filtered cathodic vacuum arc, achieving a continuous coverage on large areas free of macroparticles. Film thickness and mass density are measured by x-ray reflectivity: densities about 3 g/cm3 are found, indicating a significant sp3 content. The dispersion relations of surface acoustic waves are measured by SBS. We show that for thicknesses above approximately 4 nm these waves can be described by a continuum elastic model based on a single homogeneous equivalent film. The elastic constants can then be obtained by fitting the dispersion relations, computed for given film properties, to the measured dispersion relations. For thicknesses of 3 nm or less qualitative differences among films are well measurable, but quantitative results are less reliable. We have thus shown that we can grow and characterise nanometer size tetrahedral amorphous carbon films, which maintain their high density and peculiar mechanical properties down to around 4-nm thickness, satisfying the requirements set for the hard disk coating material.
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Marco Giuseppe Beghi, Marco Giuseppe Beghi, Carlo E. Bottani, Carlo E. Bottani, Andrea Li Bassi, Andrea Li Bassi, Brian K. Tanner, Brian K. Tanner, Andrea C. Ferrari, Andrea C. Ferrari, K. B. K. Teo, K. B. K. Teo, J. Robertson, J. Robertson, } "Measurement of the elastic constants of nanometric films", Proc. SPIE 4449, Optical Metrology Roadmap for the Semiconductor, Optical, and Data Storage Industries II, (10 December 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.450085; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.450085

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