Origin of a Nanoindentation Pop-in Event in Silicon Crystal

R Abram and D Chrobak and R Nowak, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 118, 095502 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.095502

The Letter concerns surface nanodeformation of Si crystal using atomistic simulation. Our results account for both the occurrence and absence of pop-in events during nanoindentation. We have identified two distinct processes responsible for indentation deformation based on load-depth response, stress-induced evolution of crystalline structure and surface profile. The first, resulting in a pop-in, consists of the extrusion of the crystalline high pressure Si-III/XII phase, while the second, without a pop-in, relies on a flow of amorphized Si to the crystal surface. Of particular interest to silicon technology will be our clarification of the interplay among amorphization, crystal-to- crystal transition, and extrusion of transformed material to the surface.

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