Characterization of Elastic Modulus Across the (Al1-xScx)N System Using DFT and Substrate-Effect-Corrected Nanoindentation

Dong Wu, Yachao Chen, Sukriti Manna, Kevin Talley, Andriy Zakutayev, Geoff L. Brennecka, Cristian V. Ciobanu, Paul Constantine, Corinne E. Packard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus Citations


Knowledge of accurate values of elastic modulus of (Al1-xScx)N is required for design of piezoelectric resonators and related devices. Thin films of (Al1-xScx)N across the entire composition space are deposited and characterized. Accuracy of modulus measurements is improved and quantified by removing the influence of substrate effects and by direct comparison of experimental results with density functional theory calculations. The 5%-30% Sc compositional range is of particular interest for piezoelectric applications and is covered at higher compositional resolution here than in previous work. The reduced elastic modulus is found to decrease by as much as 40% with increasing Sc concentration in the wurtzite phase according to both experimental and computational techniques, whereas Sc-rich rocksalt-structured films exhibit little variation in modulus with composition.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8438334
Pages (from-to)2167-2175
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1986-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-71971


  • Aluminum nitride (AlN)
  • elastic modulus
  • nanoindentation
  • scandium nitride
  • thin film


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