Conference paper

Electronic structure of metastable bcc Cu-Cr alloy thin films: Comparison of electron energy-loss spectroscopy and first-principles calculations

Metastable Cu-Cr alloy thin films with nominal thickness of 300 nm and composition of Cu67Cr33 (at%) are obtained by co-evaporation using molecular beam epitaxy. The microstructure, chemical phase separation and electronic structure are investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The thin film adopts the body-centered cubic crystal structure and consists of columnar grains with similar to 50 nm diameter. Aberration-corrected scanning TEM in combination with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy confirms compositional fluctuations within the grains. Cu-and Cr-rich domains with composition of Cu83Cr15 (at%) and Cu42Cr58 (at%) and domain size of 1-5 nm are observed. The alignment of the interface between the Cu-and Cr-rich domains shows a preference for {110}-type habit plane. The electronic structure of the Cu-Cr thin films is investigated by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and is contrasted to an fcc-Cu reference sample. The experimental EEL spectra are compared to spectra computed by density functional theory. The main differences between bcc-and fcc-Cu are related to differences in van Hove singularities in the electron density of states. In Cu-Cr solid solutions with bcc crystal structure a single peak after the L3-edge, corresponding to a van Hove singularity at the N-point of the first Brillouin zone is observed. Spectra computed for pure bcc-Cu and random Cu-Cr solid solutions with 10 at% Cr confirm the experimental observations. The calculated spectrum for a perfect Cu50Cr50 (at%) random structure shows a shift in the van Hove singularity towards higher energy by developing a Cu Cr d-band that lies between the delocalized d-bands of Cu and Cr. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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