Formation of CuxAu1-x phases by cold homogenization of Au/Cu nanocrystalline thin films

Alona Tynkova, Gabor L. Katona, Gabor A. Langer, Sergey I. Sidorenko, Svetlana M. Voloshko, Dezso L. Beke

Research output: Article

12 Citations (Scopus)


It is shown, by using depth profiling with a secondary neutral mass spectrometer and structure investigations by XRD and TEM, that at low temperatures, at which the bulk diffusion is frozen, a complete homogenization can take place in the Cu/Au thin film system, which leads to formation of intermetallic phases. Different compounds can be formed depending on the initial thickness ratio. The process starts with grain boundary interdiffusion, which is followed by a formation of reaction layers at the grain boundaries that leads to the motion of the newly formed interfaces perpendicular to the grain boundary plane. Finally, the homogenization finishes when all the pure components have been consumed. The process is asymmetric: It is faster in the Au layer. In Au(25nm)/Cu(50nm) samples the final state is the ordered AuCu3 phase. Decrease of the film thicknesses, as expected, results in the acceleration of the process. It is also illustrated that changing the thickness ratio either a mixture of Cu-rich AuCu and AuCu3 phases (in Au(25nm)/Cu(25nm) sample), or a mixture of disordered Cu- as well as Au-rich solid solutions (in Au(25nm)/Cu(12nm) sample) can be produced. By using a simple model the interface velocity in both the Cu and Au layers were estimated from the linear increase of the average composition and its value is about two orders of magnitude larger in Au (ca. 10-11 m/s) than in Cu (ca. 10-13 m/s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1500
Number of pages10
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this