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Tutorial: Understanding residual stress in polycrystalline thin films through real-time measurements and physical models
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Residual stress is a long-standing issue in thin film growth. Better understanding and control of film stress would lead to enhanced performance and reduced failures. In this work, we review how thin film stress is measured and interpreted. The results are used to describe a comprehensive picture that is emerging of what controls stress evolution. Examples from multiple studies are discussed to illustrate how the stress depends on key parameters (e.g., growth rate, material type, temperature, grain size, morphology, etc.). The corresponding stress-generating mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the data are also described. To develop a fuller understanding, we consider the kinetic factors that determine how much each of these processes contributes to the overall stress under different conditions. This leads to a kinetic model that can predict the dependence of the stress on multiple parameters. The model results are compared with the experiments to show how this approach can explain many features of stress evolution.
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