Evidence for nanoindentation-induced phase transformations in germanium
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Nanoindentation experiments were performed using Berkovich and cube-corner indenters to investigate whether nanoindentation-induced phase transformations, such as those observed in silicon, also occur in germanium. Although the indentation load-displacement curves for germanium do not show the unloading pop-out or elbow phenomena observed in silicon, clear evidence for phase transformations was obtained by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-Raman spectroscopy. SEM showed that there is extruded material around the contact periphery of cube-corner hardness impressions that is metalliclike in its flow characteristics, just as in silicon. Micro-Raman spectroscopy revealed more direct evidence by identifying amorphous and what may be the crystalline BC8 (Ge-IV) phase. The fact that these phenomena are observed primarily and reproducibly only for the cube-corner indenter suggests that the contact geometry significantly affects the transformation behavior. Results are discussed in terms of possible deformation mechanisms and how they may be influenced by the indenter geometry. 2005 American Institute of Physics.