Microstructural and morphological characterizations of nanocrystalline Ni-Cu-Fe thin films electrodeposited from electrolytes with different Fe ion concentrations


JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE-MATERIALS IN ELECTRONICS, vol.25, no.6, pp.2554-2560, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


In the current study, ternary Ni-Cu-Fe thin films have been grown from the electrolytes with different Fe ion concentrations onto indium tin oxide coated glass substrates by galvanostatic electrodeposition at ambient temperature. The microstructural, compositional, and morphological properties have been characterized with respect to Fe ion concentration using X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). EDX results indicated that the Fe content within the films increased and Ni and Cu contents decreased as the Fe ion concentration in the electrolyte was increased. From the XRD analysis, it was observed that the films have two separate, Cu-rich and Ni-rich phases. It was also observed that the phase separation becomes weaker with increasing Fe ion concentration. All of the films have face-centered cubic structure and [111] preferred crystallographic orientation. The texture degree of the Ni-rich (111) phase increased with the Fe ion concentration. SEM and AFM measurements revealed that the surface morphology is considerably affected by the Fe ion concentration. The size of the grains formed on the film surface and the surface roughness decreased as the Fe ion concentration within the electrolyte increased.