In order to further investigate the origin of growth instabilities in aluminium rich Ti/Al-alloy films, formed by simultaneous deposition of the two alloy components, from separate evaporation sources, we have investigated the growth stress of multilayer-films under UHV-conditions, formed by a variable number of double layers of Ti and Al, by in situ internal stress measurements. The thickness of the respective Ti/Al-double layer was varied between 6.25 nm and 25 nm and the thickness of the respective titanium and aluminium layer was chosen to achieve an overall composition of Ti25Al75 in a 150 nm thick film. The multilayer films were deposited on 10 nm thick alumina substrate films at substrate temperatures of 350°C and 450°C. Microstructure and phase formation was investigated by TEM/TED-experiments.
In summary, these experiments show diffusion of aluminium (compressive stress) into the underlying film during deposition of the first monolayers and then formation (stress free or small tensile stress) of aluminium precipitates on the surface of the multilayer film during each aluminium deposition. During the subsequent titanium deposition the aluminium surface precipitates spread in a circular region under alloy formation (tensile stress) (see also accompanying paper). The respective stress contributions are strongly dependent on the double-layer thickness and substrate temperature. The increasing magnitude of the different stress contributions in the early growth stage are interpreted to indicate that the various processes are limited to specific surface regions, which get larger as the number of double-layers increases. The average film stress built up in the respective multilayer film by superposition of the stress contributions mentioned above, is also strongly dependent on double layer thickness and substrate temperature.
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Lackner, S.T., Abermann, R. In situ investigation of the stress evolution during deposition of Ti/Al-multi layer films as a function of layer thickness and substrate temperature.. MRS Online Proceedings Library 749, 109 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-749-W10.9