Microstructure and nanomechanical behavior of sputtered CuNb thin films

Abboud, Mohammad
Motallebzadeh, Amir
Duygulu, Özgür
Maaß, Robert
Özerinç, Sezer
We report on the mechanical properties of Cu–Nb alloys produced by combinatorial magnetron sputtering. Depending on the composition, the microstructure is either fully amorphous (~30–65 at.% Cu), a dispersion of Cu crystallites in an amorphous matrix (~70 at.%), or a dominant crystalline phase with separated nanoscale amorphous zones (~80 at.% Cu). Nanomechanical probing of the different microstructures reveals that the hardness of the fully amorphous alloy is much higher than a rule of mixture would predict. We further demonstrate a remarkable tunability of the resistance to plastic flow, ranging from ca. 9 GPa in the amorphous regime to ca. 2 GPa in the fully crystalline regime. We rationalize these findings based on fundamental structural considerations, thereby highlighting the vast structure-property design space that this otherwise immiscible binary alloy provides.


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Citation Formats
M. Abboud, A. Motallebzadeh, Ö. Duygulu, R. Maaß, and S. Özerinç, “Microstructure and nanomechanical behavior of sputtered CuNb thin films,” Intermetallics, pp. 0–0, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?partnerID=HzOxMe3b&scp=85107276769&origin=inward.