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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Apr 15;88(15):156103. Epub 2002 Mar 29.

Origin of compressive residual stress in polycrystalline thin films.

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Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


We present a model for compressive stress generation during thin film growth in which the driving force is an increase in the surface chemical potential caused by the deposition of atoms from the vapor. The increase in surface chemical potential induces atoms to flow into the grain boundary, creating a compressive stress in the film. We develop kinetic equations to describe the stress evolution and dependence on growth parameters. The model is used to explain measurements of relaxation when growth is terminated and the dependence of the steady-state stress on growth rate.

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