Nanoscale Transition Metal Thin Films: Growth Characteristics and Scaling Law for Interlayer Formation

Anirudhan Chandrasekaran*, Robbert W.E. van de Kruijs, J.M. Sturm, Andrey Zameshin, F. Bijkerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


A comprehensive study on the growth of nanoscale transition metal-on-transition metal (TM-on-TM) systems is presented. The near room-temperature intermixing and segregation phenomena during growth are studied in vacuo using high-sensitivity low-energy ion scattering. The investigated TM-on-TM systems are classified into four types according to the observed intermixing and segregation behavior. Empirical rules are suggested to qualitatively predict the growth characteristics of any TM-on-TM system based on the atomic size difference, surface-energy difference, and enthalpy of mixing between the film and substrate atoms. An exponential trend is observed in the effective interface width as a function of the surface-energy difference between the film and substrate layers, with a subtrend based on the crystal structure of the TM layers. A semiempirical model that accurately describes the experimental data is presented. It serves as a scaling law to predict the effective interface width and the minimum film thickness required for full film coverage in TM-on-TM systems in general. The ability to predict the growth characteristics as well as the interface width for any TM-on-TM system significantly contributes to the process of finding the best material combination for a specific application, where layer growth characteristics are implicitly considered when selecting materials based on their functional properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46311−46326
Number of pages16
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number49
Early online date15 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Sputter deposition
  • Interfaces
  • Scaling law
  • Transition metals
  • Low energy ion scattering
  • Intermixing
  • Thin film growth
  • Segregation


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