Influence of substrate temperature and deposition rate on structural and mechanical properties of shape memory NiTi films
NiTi thin films deposited by DC magnetron sputtering of an alloy (Ni/Ti:45/55) target at different deposition rates and substrate temperatures were analyzed for their structure and mechanical properties. The crystalline structure, phase-transformation and mechanical response were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Nanoindentation techniques, respectively. The films were deposited on silicon substrates maintained at temperatures in the range 300
... es in the range 300 to 500 °C and post-annealed at 600 °C for four hours to ensure film crystallinity. Films deposited at 300 °C and annealed for 600 °C have exhibited crystalline behavior with Austenite phase as the prominent phase. Deposition onto substrates held at higher deposition temperatures (400 and 500 °C) resulted in the co-existence of Austenite phase along with Martensite phase. The increase in deposition rates corresponding to increase in cathode current from 250 to 350 mA has also resulted in the appearance of Martensite phase as well as improvement in crystallinity. XRD analysis revealed that the crystalline film structure is strongly influenced by process parameters such as substrate temperature and deposition rate. DSC results indicate that the film deposited at 300 °C had its crystallization temperature at 445 °C in the first thermal cycle, which is further confirmed by stress temperature response. In the second thermal cycle the Austenite and Martensite transitions were observed at 75 and 60 °C respectively. However, the films deposited at 500 °C had the Austenite and Martensite transitions at 73 and 58 °C, respectively. Elastic modulus and hardness values increased from 93 to 145 GPa and 7.2 to 12.6 GPa, respectively, with increase in deposition rates. These results are explained on the basis of change in film composition and crystallization.