Atom Probe Tomography of TiSiN Thin Films
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis concerns the wear resistant coating TiSiN and the development of the analysis technique atom probe tomography (APT) applied to this materials system. The technique delivers compositional information through time-of-flight mass spectrometry, with sub-nanometer precision in 3D for a small volume of the sample. It is thus a powerful technique for imaging the local distribution of elements in micro and nanostructures. To gain the full benefits of the technique for the materials system in question, I have developed a method that combines APT with isotopic substitution, here demonstrated by substitution of natN with 15N. This alters the time-of-flight of ions with of one or more N and will thereby enable the differentiation of the otherwise inseparable isotopes 14N and 28Si. Signs of small-scale fluctuations in the data led the development of an algorithm needed to properly visualize these fluctuations. A method to identify the best sampling parameter for visualization of small-scale compositional fluctuations was added to an algorithm originally designed to find the best sampling parameters for measuring and visualizing strong compositional variations. With the identified sampling parameters, the nano-scale compositional fluctuations of Si in the metal/metalloid sub-lattice could be visualized. The existence and size of these fluctuations were corroborated by radial distribution functions, a technique independent of the previously determined sampling parameter. The radial distribution function algorithm was also developed further to ease in the interpretation. The number of curves could thereby be reduced by showing elements, rather than single and molecular ions (of which there were several different kinds). The improvement of the algorithm also allowed interpretation of signs regarding the stoichiometry of SiNy. With a combination of analytical transmission electron microscopy and APT we show Si segregation on the nanometer scale in arc-deposited Ti0.92Si0.0815N and Ti0.81Si0.1915N thin films. APT composition maps and proximity histograms generated from Ti-rich domains show that the TiN contain at least ~2 at. % Si for Ti0.92Si0.08N and ~5 at. % Si for Ti0.81Si0.19N, thus confirming the formation of solid solutions. The formation of relatively pure SiNy domains in the Ti0.81Si0.19N films is tied to pockets between microstructured, columnar features in the film. Finer SiNy enrichments seen in APT possibly correspond to tissue layers around TiN crystallites, thus effectively hindering growth of TiN crystallites, causing TiN renucleation and thus explaining the featherlike nanostructure within the columns of these films.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 41 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1733
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122724DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-122724ISBN: 978-91-7685-901-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122724DiVA: diva2:872201
2015-12-11, Schrödingerm Hus E, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Liu, Fang, Assistant Professor
Hultman, Lars, ProfessorOdén, Magnus, Professor
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