Journal of Materials Research


The dependence of the nanostructure of magnetron sputtered Cu–Ag alloy films on composition and temperature

K. Pagh Almtofta1, A.M. Ejsinga1, J. Bøttigera1 c1, J. Chevalliera1, N. Schella2 and R.M.S. Martinsa2

a1 Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

a2 Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research, Forschungszentrum Rossendorf, D-01314 Dresden, Germany


Cu–Ag alloy films prepared by magnetron cosputtering were characterized by using x-ray diffraction. A two-phase nanocrystalline structure of Cu grains supersaturated with Ag and Ag grains saturated with Cu was always observed. When alloying Ag with Cu or Cu with Ag, the grain sizes decreased dramatically, and the supersaturation increased with the amount of the alloying element. On annealing, the grain sizes of the Cu–Ag films increased and the solubilities decreased. To shed light on the mechanisms in play during the phase formation and subsequent phase changes, additional in situ real-time measurements were carried out using a high-intensity x-ray beam from the synchrotron at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France. Based on the experimental findings, the phase formation and the subsequent changes during annealing are discussed.

(Received May 24 2006)

(Accepted December 21 2006)

Key Words:

  • Nanostructure;
  • Sputtering;
  • X-ray diffraction (XRD)


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