Effect of Annealing Conditions on the Grain Size of Nanocrystalline Copper Thin Films
Nanocrystalline metals demonstrate a broad range of fascinating mechanical properties at the nanoscale, namely a significant increase in hardness and superior yield stress. In this regard, understanding grain growth in nanocrystalline metals is crucial, particularly because nano size grains are characterized by a high curvature, which results in a high driving force for grain growth. In this work, the effect of annealing conditions on grain size of copper nanocrystalline thin films was investigated. The nanocrystalline copper thin films were first deposited by d.c. magnetron sputtering on a copper substrate. The specimens were then annealed in vacuum at 100, 300 and 500°C from 10 minutes to 5 hours. Transmission electron microscopy observations revealed that the as-deposited thin films have a bimodal grain size distribution; an average grain size of 43±2nm and the presence of nanotwins. Abnormal grain growth was observed for some samples annealed. Increasing the annealing time induced significant grain growth and promoted twin formation in the larger grains. Finally, the hardness of these nanocrystalline Cu thin films was determined using atomic force microscope. The relation between mechanical properties, annealing conditions and grain size was analyzed.
António Torres Marques, António Fernando Silva, António Paulo Monteiro Baptista, Carlos Sá, Fernando Jorge Lino Alves, Luís Filipe Malheiros and Manuel Vieira
S. Simões et al., "Effect of Annealing Conditions on the Grain Size of Nanocrystalline Copper Thin Films", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 587-588, pp. 483-487, 2008