Thin films, coatings and MEMS

Processing, characterization and testing of thin films

The IMAP division has a long term research track in the processing, characterization and testing of thin films, and this in close collaboration with colleagues of the Institute ICTEAM (mainly Prof. J.P. Raskin and L. Francis).

The films under interest have application in functional coatings, protective coatings, microelectronic, MEMS, flexible electronics and energy enabling devices. The deposition of the films essentially takes place within the platform WINFAB with a focus on monitoring the development of internal stress and of the microstructure either in situ or post-deposition. Systems including Pd, Cu, Ni, Al, Ti, Au, ZrNi metallic glass, graphene, Si, SiO2, PolySi, Al2O3, ZnO (pure or Al-doped), TiOx, NiOx, polyimide have been investigated over the last 10 years.

The mechanical properties

are characterized by nanoindentation, by tensile test of films on polymer substrates and by original on chip test methods build based on microfabrication techniques. Tribological properties of the coatings are evaluated using nanoscratch, tribometer and erosion equipments.

The nanoscale plasticity/failure mechanisms controlling the mechanical properties

are characterized using conventional and advanced electron microscopy techniques within the platform LACAMI at UCLouvain and with colleagues of the electron microscopy for materials science (EMAT) group at the University of Antwerp.

Micromechanics based multiscale models

are developed to predict the plastic deformation and fracture mechanisms in the films, including size effects and microstructure parameters, in collaboration with other colleagues inside the Institute iMMC (Prof. L. Delannay) and outside UCLouvain.