The mechanical properties and fracture behavior of silicon nitride (SiNx) thin film fabricated by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is reported. Plane-strain moduli, prestresses, and fracture strengths of silicon nitride thin film; deposited both oil a bare Si substrate and oil a thermally oxidized Si substrate were extracted using bulge testing combined with a refined load-deflection model of long rectangular membranes. The plane-strain modu i and prestresses of SiNx thin films have little dependence on the substrates, that is, for the bare Si substrate, they are 133 +/- 19 GPa and 178 +/- 22 MPa, respectively, while for the thermally oxidized substrate, they are 140 +/- 26 Gila and 194 +/- 34 MPa, respectively. However, the fracture strength values of SiNx films grown on the two substrates are quite different, i.e., 1.53 +/- 0.33 Gila and 3.08 +/- 0.79 GPa for the bare Si substrate a A the oxidized Si substrate, respectively. The reference stresses were computed by integrating the local stress of the membrane at the fracture over the edge, Surface, and volume of the specimens and fitted with the Weibull distribution function. For SiNx thin film produced oil the bare Si Substrate, the Volume integration gave a significantly better agreement between data and model, implying that the volume flaws re the dominant fracture origin. For SiNx thin film grown on the oxidized Si substrate, the fit quality of surface and edge integration was significantly better than the Volume integration, and the dominant surface and edge flaws could be caused by buffered HF attacking the SiNx layer during SiO2 removal. Crown Copyright (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.