We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

X-ray asterism and the structure of cracks from indentations in silicon.

Tanner, B.K. and Garagorri, J. and Gorostegui-Colinas, E. and Elizalde, M.R. and Allen, D.M. and McNally, P.J. and Wittge, J. and Ehlers, C. and Danilewsky, A.N. (2016) 'X-ray asterism and the structure of cracks from indentations in silicon.', Journal of applied crystallography., 49 (1). pp. 250-259.


The asterism observed in white radiation X-ray diffraction images (topographs) of extended cracks in silicon is investigated and found to be associated with material that is close to breakout and surrounded by extensive cracking. It is a measure of the mechanical damage occurring when the fracture planes do not follow the low-index cleavage planes associated with the crystal structure. It is not related to a propensity for some cracked wafers to shatter during subsequent high-temperature processing. There is no correlation between crack morphology and alignment of an indenter with respect to the orientation of a silicon wafer, the cracks being generated from the apices of the indenter and having threefold symmetry for Berkovich indents and fourfold symmetry for Vickers indents. X-ray diffraction imaging (XRDI) of indents does not reveal this underlying symmetry and the images exhibit a very substantial degree of variation in their extent. This arises because the XRDI contrast is sensitive to the long-range strain field around the indent and breakout reduces the extent of this long-range strain field. Breakout is also detected in the loss of symmetry in the short-range strain field imaged by scanning micro-Raman spectroscopy. Weak fourfold symmetric features at the extremes of the images, and lying along <110> directions, are discussed in the context of slip generated below the room-temperature indents. Scanning electron microscopy imaging of the region around an indent during focused ion beam milling has permitted the three-dimensional reconstruction of the crack morphology. The surface-breaking Palmqvist cracks are found to be directly connected to the median subsurface cracks, and the presence of extensive lateral cracks is a prerequisite for material breakout at indenter loads above 200 mN. The overall crack shape agrees with that predicted from simulation

Item Type:Article
Full text:(NA) Not Applicable
Download PDF (Electronic reprint)
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Copyright © International Union of Crystallography Author(s) of this paper may load this reprint on their own web site or institutional repository provided that this cover page is retained. Republication of this article or its storage in electronic databases other than as specified above is not permitted without prior permission in writing from the IUCr.
Date accepted:22 December 2015
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:01 February 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar