Fundamental study of ductile-regime diamond turning of single crystal gallium arsenide

Chen, Junyun and Ding, Fei and Luo, Xichun and Rao, Xiaoshuang and sun, Jining (2020) Fundamental study of ductile-regime diamond turning of single crystal gallium arsenide. Precision Engineering, 62. pp. 71-82. ISSN 0141-6359 (

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Gallium arsenide (GaAs) components, ranging from the planar substrate to those possessing complicated shapes and microstructures, have attracted extensive interest regarding their applications in photovoltaic devices, photodetectors and emerging quantum devices. Single point diamond turning (SPDT) is regarded as an excellent candidate for an industrially viable mechanical machining process, as it can generate nano-smooth surfaces, even on some hard-to-machine brittle materials such as silicon and silicon carbide, with a single pass. However, the extremely low fracture toughness and strong anisotropic machinability of GaAs makes it difficult to obtain nano-smooth, crack-free machined surfaces. To bridge the current knowledge gaps in understanding the anisotropic machinability of GaAs, this paper studied the mechanical material properties of (001)-oriented GaAs through indentation tests, assuming the diagonals of the indenter acted in the similar way of the cutting edge of a diamond tool with a negative rake angle. The results showed that the (001) plane of the GaAs material displayed harder and more brittle when indented along direction I (one diagonal of indenter parallel to the <110> orientation) compared to direction II (one diagonal of indenter parallel to the <100> orientation), which coincides with anisotropic machined surface quality by SPDT. This finding reveals, for the first time, that the crystallographic orientation dependence of both hardness and fracture toughness represents the underlying mechanism for the anisotropic machinability of GaAs. The paper presents a novel approach to evaluate the critical depth of cut under a high cutting speed comparable to SPDT and to determine the maximum feed rate for ductile-regime diamond turning. The 26.57 nm critical depth of cut was obtained for the hardest cutting direction using a large negative rake angle diamond tool. Finally, a nano-smooth surface was successfully generated along all the orientations in ductile-regime diamond turning, in which the material removal mechanism is considered as plastic deformation caused by high-density dislocations. The subsurface layer remains to its single crystal structure and no cracks are found under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The results proves the proposed evaluation approach for the critical depth of cut and the maximum allowed feed rate is highly effective for guiding the ductile-regime machining of brittle materials.