Morgan wins first place in SEM International Student Paper Competition

June 16, 2017 - Claire Morgan, a fifth-year materials science graduate student, won first place in the International Student Paper Competition at the 2017 Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics held on June 12-15, 2017 in Indianapolis. Morgan claimed the top prize based on her two-page abstract and research presentation on "Silicon Activation Volumes for Plasticity" as explained below.
Silicon is increasingly being utilized in MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS), particularly for components at micron to nanometer length scale where the increased surface-to-volume ratio of the material can impact physical properties. For this reason, it is imperative to improve and expand the understanding of mechanical behavior of Si at length scales appropriate for application in MEMS. Si is generally considered a brittle material; however, for small length scale components, plastic deformation and cracking can occur and must be accounted for in component design [1, 2]. To further complicate the mechanical behavior of small Si volumes, these systems’ mechanical behaviors can be impacted by dopants as well as the addition of hydrogen [3]. Since MEMS devices are often produced in acidic environments and are also typically exposed to humidity, there is opportunity for hydrogen to diffuse into these devices and impact mechanical properties [2, 4]. This work focuses on methods to experimentally characterize the mechanical property changes in Si due to the addition of hydrogen, and begins to quantify parameters that describe plastic deformation at small length scales by determining the activation volume for dislocation motion.

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