Thermomechanical behavior and microstructural evolution in tantalum thin films


Ta films were prepared in the metastable β phase using an ultra-high vacuum sputter deposition system. The stresses that arose during thermal cycles to 750°C were measured using an in situ substrate curvature measurement system, allowing oxygen content in the films to be minimized. A phase transformation from β to the stable α phase takes place in conjunction with distinct “jumps” in stress in the tensile direction during heating at approximately 400°C and 650°C. X-ray and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analyses were used to determine grain sizes, along with crystal phase and orientation information. These results indicate a significant amount of grain growth accompanying the phase transformation. It is found that the measured total stress change is in reasonable agreement with that predicted by the combination of grain growth, crystal densification associated with the phase transformation, and stress relaxation.

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The authors would like to thank Jonathan Shu for assistance with the UHV system. This work made use of the x-ray, electron microscopy, and ion beam facilities of the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) with support from the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) program (DMR-0079992). This work was supported by U.S. Department of Education GAANN Fellowship (award P200A000800-02), National Science Foundation CAREER award (DMR-9875119), and by Cornell University.

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Correspondence to Robert Knepper.

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Knepper, R., Jackson, K., Stevens, B. et al. Thermomechanical behavior and microstructural evolution in tantalum thin films. MRS Online Proceedings Library 854, U6.8 (2004).

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