Journal of Materials Research


Evolution of metastable phases during crystallization of pulsed laser deposited amorphous Al–Fe films

Sandip Bysakha1, Puspendu Kumar Dasa2 and Kamanio Chattopadhyaya3

a1 Department of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

a2 Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

a3 Department of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India


Amorphous thin films of different Al–Fe compositions were produced by plasma/vapor quenching during pulsed laser deposition. The chosen compositions Al72Fe28, Al40Fe60, and Al18Fe82 correspond to Al5Fe2 and B2-ordered AlFe intermetallic compounds and α–Fe solid solution, respectively. The films contained fine clusters that increased with iron content. The sequences of phase evolution observed in the heating stage transmission electron microscopy studies of the pulsed laser ablation deposited films of Al72Fe28, Al40Fe60, and Al18Fe82 compositions showed evidence of composition partitioning during crystallization for films of all three compositions. This composition partitioning, in turn, resulted in the evolution of phases of compositions richer in Fe, as well as richer in Al, compared to the overall film composition in each case. The evidence of Fe-rich phases was the B2 phase in Al72Fe28 film, the L12- and DO3-ordered phases in Al40Fe60 film, and the hexagonal ε–Fe in the case of the Al18Fe82 film. On the other hand, the Al-rich phases were Al13Fe4 for both Al72Fe28 and Al40Fe60 films and DO3 and Al5Fe2 phases in the case of Al18Fe82 film. We believe that this tendency of composition partitioning during crystallization from amorphous phase is a consequence of the tendency of clustering of the Fe atoms in the amorphous phase during nucleation. The body-centered cubic phase has a nucleation advantage over other metastable phases for all three compositions. The amorphization of Al18Fe82 composition and the evolution of L12 and ε–Fe phases in the Al–Fe system were new observations of this work.

(Received April 09 2002)

(Accepted October 22 2002)

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