Nanocrystalline equiatomic CoCrFeNi alloy thin films: Are they single phase fcc?

Kini, M.K. and Lee, S. and Savan, A. and Breitbach, B. and Addab, Y. and Lu, W. and Ghidelli, M. and Ludwig, Al. and Bozzolo, N. and Scheu, C. and Chatain, D. and Dehm, G.

Volume: 410 Pages:
DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.126945
Published: 2021

The bulk quaternary equiatomic CoCrFeNi alloy is studied extensively in literature. Under experimental conditions, it shows a single-phase fcc structure and its physical and mechanical properties are similar to those of the quinary equiatomic CoCrFeMnNi alloy. Many studies in literature have focused on the mechanical properties of bulk nanocrystalline high entropy alloys or compositionally complex alloys, and their microstructure evolution upon annealing. The thin film processing route offers an excellent alternative to form nanocrystalline alloys. Due to the high nucleation rate and high density of defects in thin films synthesized by sputtering, the kinetics of microstructure evolution is often accelerated compared to those taking place in the bulk. Here, thin films are used to study the phase evolution in nanocrystalline CoCrFeNi deposited on Si/SiO2 and c-sapphire substrates by magnetron co-sputtering from elemental sources. The phases and microstructure of the films are discussed in comparison to the bulk alloy. The main conclusion is that second phases can form even at room temperature provided there are sufficient nucleation sites. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.

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