We have investigated the solid-state reaction of Ti/Al multilayer films by x-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), with focus on the early stages of the reaction provided by samples with pair thicknesses in the range 5 - 40 nm. This reaction, which results in formation of TiAl3 with metastable Ll2 structure, can be modeled by a nucleation and growth process on the basis of the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami theory, with a reaction-order parameter n ≈1. These observations indicate the significance of nucleation barriers even at early stages of solid-state reactions, and suggests that the phenomena of phase selection and formation of metastable phases can result from the presence of nucleation barriers.
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Michaelsen, C., WÖHlert, S., Bormann, R. et al. The Early Stages of Solid-State Reactions in Ti/Al Multilayer Films. MRS Online Proceedings Library 398, 245–250 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-398-245