Role of the substrate on the growth of Ni–Ti sputtered thin films


Ni–Ti thin films have been recognized as promising and high performance materials in the field of microelectromechanical system applications. However, important issues like formation of film texture and its control are still unresolved. Widening the scope of previous experiments concerning the influence of the deposition parameters on the Ni–Ti films structure, here we show how different crystallographic orientations can be obtained by changing the substrate type. The growth of near-equiatomic Ni–Ti films, deposited by magnetron co-sputtering from Ni–Ti and Ti targets on heated substrates (≈470 °C), has been studied in situ by X-ray diffraction at a synchrotron radiation beamline. As mentioned in other studies for depositions on Si100, a 1 1 0 fiber texture is observed for the B2 phase. However, a preferential stacking of 1 0 0 planes of the B2 phase parallel to the film surface was observed when using a MgO100 substrate. The preferential orientation of B2100||MgO100 was very strong and was kept as such until the end of the deposition, which lasted for 7.2 ks (≈900 nm). Ni–Ti films were also deposited on a TiN layer (≈15 nm) previously deposited on top of a SiO2/Si100 substrate. In this case, a crossover from 1 1 0 oriented grains dominating at small thicknesses, to 2 1 1 oriented grains taking over at larger thicknesses was observed. These are promising results concerning the manipulation of the crystallographic orientations of Ni–Ti thin films, since the texture has a strong influence on the extent of the strain recovery.
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