Phase separation in immiscible silver–copper alloy thin films
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Far from equilibrium, immiscible nanocrystalline Ag–Cu alloy thin films of nominal composition Ag–40 at.% Cu have been deposited by co-sputter deposition. Both X-ray and electron diffraction studies indicate that the as-deposited films largely consist of nanocrystalline grains of a single alloyed face-centered cubic (fcc) phase. However, detailed three-dimensional atom probe tomography studies on the same films give direct evidence of a nanoscale phase separation within the columnar grains of the as-deposited Ag–Cu films. Subsequent annealing of these films at 200 °C leads to two effects; a more pronounced nanoscale separation of the Ag and Cu phases, as well as the early stages of recrystallization leading to the breakdown of the columnar grain morphology. Finally, annealing at a higher temperature of 390 °C for a long period of time leads to complete recrystallization, grain coarsening, and a complete phase separation into fcc Cu and fcc Ag phases.
KeywordsAtom Probe Tomography Alloy Thin Film Compositional Fluctuation Thermodynamic Equilibrium Phase Spinodal Decomposition Process
- 3.Alloy Phase Diagrams, ASM handbook, vol 3. ASM International (1992), p 238 Google Scholar