skip to main content

Title: Complications of using thin film geometries for nanocrystalline thermal stability investigations
We report the sputter deposition of Cu-7V and Cu-27V (at.%) alloy films in an attempt to yield a “clean” alloy to investigate nanocrystalline stability. Films grown in high vacuum chambers can mitigate processing contaminates which convolute the identification of nanocrystalline stability mechanism(s). The initial films were very clean with carbon and oxygen contents ranging between ~0.01 and 0.38 at.%. Annealing at 400 °C/1 h facilitated the clustering of vanadium at high-angle grain boundary triple junctions. At 800 °C/1 h annealing, the Cu-7V film lost its nanocrystalline grain sizes with the vanadium partitioned to the free surface; the Cu-27V retained its nanocrystalline grains with vanadium clusters in the matrix, but surface solute segregation was present. Though the initial alloy and vacuum annealing retained the low contamination levels sought, the high surface area-to-volume ratio of the film, coupled with high segregation tendencies, enabled this system to phase separate in such a manner that the stability mechanisms that were to be studied were lost at high temperatures. This illustrates obstacles in using thin films to address nanocrystalline stability.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2087 to 2097
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Atom probe tomography (APT) of a nanocrystalline Cu–7 at.% V thin film annealed at 400°C for 1 h revealed chemical partitioning in the form of solute segregation. The vanadium precipitated along high angle grain boundaries and at triple junctions, determined by cross-correlative precession electron diffraction of the APT specimen. Upon field evaporation, the V 2+ /(V 1+ + VH 1+ ) ratio from the decomposed ions was ~3 within the matrix grains and ~16 within the vanadium precipitates. It was found that the VH 1+ complex was prevalent in the matrix, with its presence explained in terms of hydrogen's ability to assist in field evaporation. The change in the V 2+ /(V 1+ + VH 1+ ) charge-state ratio (CSR) was studied as a function of base temperature (25–90 K), laser pulse energy (50–200 pJ), and grain orientation. The strongest influence on changing the CSR was with the varied pulse laser, which made the CSR between the precipitates and the matrix equivalent at the higher laser pulse energies. However, at these conditions, the precipitates began to coarsen. The collective results of the CSRs are discussed in terms of field strengths related to the chemical coordination. 
    more » « less
  2. Surface segregation is a phenomenon common to all multicomponent materials and one that plays a critical role in determining their surface properties. Comprehensive studies of surface segregation versus bulk composition in ternary alloys have been prohibitive because of the need to study many different compositions. In this work, high-throughput low-energy He+ ionscattering spectra and energy-dispersive X-ray spectra were collected from a CuxAuyPd1−x−y composition spread alloy film under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. These have been used to quantify surface segregation across the entire CuxAuyPd1−x−y composition space (x = 0 → 1 and y = 0 → 1 − x). Surface compositions at 164 different bulk compositions were measured at 500 and 600 K. At both temperatures, Au shows the greatest tendency for segregation to the top-most surface while Pd is always depleted from the surface. Higher temperatures enhance the Au segregation. Segregation at most of the binary alloy bulk compositions matches with observations previously reported in the literature. However, surface compositions in the CuPd B2 composition region reveal segregation profiles that are nonmonotonic in bulk alloy composition. These were not observable in prior studies because of their limited resolution of composition space. An extended Langmuir−MacLean model, which describes ternary alloy segregation, has been used to analyze experimental data from the ternary alloys and to estimate pair-wise segregation free energies and segregation equilibrium constants. The ability to study surface segregation across the ternary alloy composition space with high-throughput methods has been validated, and the impact of bulk alloy phase on surface segregation is demonstrated and discussed. 
    more » « less
    more » « less
  4. The microstructural transformations of binary nanometallic multilayers (NMMs) to equiaxed nanostructured materials were explored by characterizing a variety of nanoscale multilayer films. Four material systems of multilayer films, Hf-Ti, Ta-Hf, W-Cr, and Mo-Au, were synthesized by magnetron sputtering, heat treated at 1000 °C, and subsequently characterized by transmission electron microscopy. Binary systems were selected based on thermodynamic models predicting stable nanograin formation with similar global compositions around 20–30 at.%. All NMMs maintained nanocrystalline grain sizes after evolution into an equiaxed structure, where the systems with highly mobile incoherent interfaces or higher energy interfaces showed a more significant increase in grain size. Furthermore, varying segregation behaviors were observed, including grain boundary (GB) segregation, precipitation, and intermetallic formation depending on the material system selected. The pathway to tailored microstructures was found to be governed by key mechanisms and factors as determined by a film’s initial characteristics, including global and local composition, interface energy, layer structure, and material selection. This work presents a global evaluation of NMM systems and demonstrates their utility as foundation materials to promote tailored nanomaterials. 
    more » « less
  5. We report the synthesis of large-area, high-Ti-content, Mo 1−x Ti x S 2 alloy thin films in the 2H phase at temperature as low as 500 °C using a scalable two-step method of metal film deposition, followed by sulfurization in H 2 S. Film processing at higher temperature accelerates Ti segregation, film coarsening, and the formation of TiS 2 in the 1T phase. Crystal growth at higher temperature results in the formation of multiple binary sulfide phases, in agreement with the equilibrium phase diagram. Making highly metastable, smooth, and uniform single-phase alloy films, therefore, hinges on developing low-temperature processing. Our results are relevant to the development of technologies based on designer transition metal dichalcogenide alloys, including in photonic integrated circuits and gas sensing. 
    more » « less