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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jun 20;10(24):20938-20949. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b02653. Epub 2018 Jun 7.

Modeling of Interface and Internal Disorder Applied to XRD Analysis of Ag-Based Nano-Multilayers.

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Instituto de Física, Facultad de Ingeniería , Universidad de la República , Herrera y Reissig 565, C.C. 30 , 11000 Montevideo , Uruguay.
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) , Überlandstrasse 129 , 8600 Dübendorf , Switzerland.
Institute of Solid State Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences , 142432 Chernogolovka , Russian Federation.


Multilayered structures are a promising route to tailor electronic, magnetic, optical, and/or mechanical properties and durability of functional materials. Sputter deposition at room temperature, being an out-of-equilibrium process, introduces structural defects and confers to these nanosystems an intrinsic thermodynamical instability. As-deposited materials exhibit a large amount of internal atomic displacements within each constituent block as well as severe interface roughness between different layers. To access and characterize the internal multilayer disorder and its thermal evolution, X-ray diffraction investigation and analysis are performed systematically at differently grown Ag-Ge/aluminum nitride (AlN) multilayers (co-deposited, sequentially deposited with and without radio frequency (RF) bias) samples and after high-temperature annealing treatment. We report here on model calculations based on a kinematic formalism describing the displacement disorder both within the multilayer blocks and at the interfaces to reproduce the experimental X-ray diffraction intensities. Mixing and displacements at the interface are found to be considerably reduced after thermal treatment for co- and sequentially deposited Ag-Ge/AlN samples. The application of a RF bias during the deposition causes the highest interface mixing and introduces random intercalates in the AlN layers. X-ray analysis is contrasted to transmission electron microscopy pictures to validate the approach.


Ag/AlN nano-multilayers; X-ray diffraction; disorder; microstructure


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