Nanoindentation of Silicon and Germanium

Mangalampalli S.R.N. Kiran, Bianca Haberl, Jodie E. Bradby, James S. Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Nanoindentation of silicon and germanium is of interest not only for the measurement of their mechanical properties but more importantly for the fact that they undergo a series of phase transformations under applied pressure. Indeed, after complete pressure release, the material does not return to the starting diamond cubic phase, but several metastable phases are possible, depending on the indentation conditions. In silicon, both crystalline (diamond cubic) and amorphous phases undergo a phase transformation to a dense metallic phase at around 11. GPa, a deformation process that defines the hardness of these materials. On pressure release, either a mixture of a rhombohedral (r8) phase and a body-centered cubic (bc8) phase or a pressure-induced amorphous silicon structure results. The mixed r8/bc8 phase is stable to 200. °C and has been shown to have properties of a narrow bandgap semiconductor and can be doped both n- and p-type. In germanium, the deformation processes under indentation are more complex with both plastic deformation by slip and twinning as well as phase transformation observed for diamond cubic germanium, depending on the indentation conditions. Amorphous germanium is easier to phase transform since slip-induced processes are avoided. Both crystalline and amorphous forms of germanium can be transformed to a high-density metallic phase under pressure, but several different transformation pathways are possible on pressure release, with the r8, hexagonal diamond and simple tetragonal end phases obtained under specific conditions. These deformation and phase transformation processes under indentation are reviewed in this chapter and compared with the behavior of these materials under diamond anvil cell pressure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSemiconductors and Semimetals
    PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
    Number of pages39
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    NameSemiconductors and Semimetals
    ISSN (Print)0080-8784


    Dive into the research topics of 'Nanoindentation of Silicon and Germanium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this