Journal of Materials Research


Transmission electron microscopy study of the deformation behavior of Cu/Nb and Cu/Ni nanoscale multilayers during nanoindentation

D. Bhattacharyyaa1, N.A. Maraa1, P. Dickersona1, R.G. Hoaglanda1 and A. Misraa1

a1 Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545


Nanoscale metallic multilayers, comprising two sets of materials—Cu/Nb and Cu/Ni—were deposited in two different layer thicknesses—nominally 20 and 5 nm. These multilayer samples were indented, and the microstructural changes under the indent tips were studied by extracting samples from underneath the indents using the focused ion beam (FIB) technique and by examining them under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The deformation behavior underneath the indents, manifested in the bending of layers, reduction in layer thickness, shear band formation, dislocation crossing of interfaces, and orientation change of grains, has been characterized and interpreted in terms of the known deformation mechanisms of nanoscale multilayers.

(Received August 19 2008)

(Accepted December 15 2008)

Key Words:

  • Nanoindentation;
  • Nanoscale;
  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)


c1 Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: