Effect of crystallographic orientation on structural and mechanical behaviors of Ni–Ti thin films irradiated by Ag7+ ions
In the present study, thin films of Ni–Ti shape memory alloy have been grown on Si substrate by dc magnetron co-sputtering technique using separate sputter targets Ni and Ti. The prepared thin films have been irradiated by 100 MeV Ag7+ ions at three different fluences, which are 1 × 1012, 5 × 1012, and 1 × 1013 ions/cm2. The elemental composition and depth profile of pristine film have been investigated by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry. The changes in crystal orientation, surface morphology, and mechanical properties of Ni–Ti thin films before and after irradiation have been studied by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, and nanoindentation techniques, respectively. X-ray diffraction measurement has revealed the existence of both austenite and martensite phases in pristine film and the formation of precipitate on the surface of the film after irradiation at an optimized fluence of 1 × 1013 ions/cm2. Nanoindentation measurement has revealed improvement in mechanical properties of Ni–Ti thin films after ion irradiation via increasing hardness and Young modulus due to the formation of precipitate and ductile phase. The improvement in mechanical behavior could be explained in terms of precipitation hardening and structural change of Ni–Ti thin film after irradiation by Swift heavy ion irradiation.
V. Kumar is very much thankful to Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQUIP), MNIT Jaipur for the Ph.D. scholarship. R. Singhal acknowledges the financial supports provided by Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi in terms of DST FAST Young Scientist project (SR/FTP/PS-081/2011). The author would like to acknowledge Mr. Sunil Ojha and Mr. S.A. Khan from IUAC, New Delhi for their help and support in RBS and FESEM characterizations. The author is also acknowledging UGC-DAE CSR Indore, for synthesis and characterization of Ni–Ti thin films. The crew of pelletron accelerator IUAC, New Delhi is also highly acknowledged for providing the stable beam of 100 MeV Ag ions.
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