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Characterization of Films with Thickness Less than 10 nm by Sensitivity-Enhanced Atomic Force Acoustic Microscopy

Mikio Muraoka* and Shinji Komatsu

Author affiliations

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Akita University, 1-1 Tegatagakuen-machi, Akita 010-8502, Japan

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Res Lett 2011, 6:33  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9778-8

Published: 26 September 2010


We present a method for characterizing ultrathin films using sensitivity-enhanced atomic force acoustic microscopy, where a concentrated-mass cantilever having a flat tip was used as a sensitive oscillator. Evaluation was aimed at 6-nm-thick and 10-nm-thick diamond-like carbon (DLC) films deposited, using different methods, on a hard disk for the effective Young's modulus defined as E/(1 - ν2), where E is the Young's modulus, and ν is the Poisson's ratio. The resonant frequency of the cantilever was affected not only by the film's elasticity but also by the substrate even at an indentation depth of about 0.6 nm. The substrate effect was removed by employing a theoretical formula on the indentation of a layered half-space, together with a hard disk without DLC coating. The moduli of the 6-nm-thick and 10-nm-thick DLC films were 392 and 345 GPa, respectively. The error analysis showed the standard deviation less than 5% in the moduli.

Atomic force acoustic microscopy; Thin film; Elastic modulus; Diamond-like carbon; Concentrated-mass cantilever