Abnormal electrical resistivity in γ-TiAl thin films deposited by magnetron sputtering

Alford, T. L.; Gadre, K. S.; Kim, H. C.; Deevi, S. C.
July 2003
Applied Physics Letters;7/21/2003, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p455
Academic Journal
Thin films of γ-TiAl are being considered as a potential conductor and/or diffusion barrier for high temperature electronics because of their high melting points and high oxidation resistance. However, it is not possible to form pure γ-TiAl thin films by thermal annealing of Al/Ti bilayers. This study, however, demonstrates the formation of γ-TiAl thin films by dc magnetron sputtering of a compound target. X-ray diffractometry and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry analyses confirm the γ-TiAl phase formation, composition, and thermal stability in vacuum (up to 700 °C, 1 h) on SiO[SUB2]. Four-point probe resistivity measurements in vacuum show an initial increase in the resistivity with temperature up to transition temperature for the γ-TiAl thin films. At higher temperatures a decrease in resistivity with additional heating (i.e., negative temperature coefficient of resistivity, TCR) is seen. The values of dρ/dT are typically on the order of -0.32 μ&Ohm; cm/°C between 200 and 550 °C. At the highest temperature, a minimum value of resistivity of ∼13 mV cm is obtained; this value is about one half the value of bulk TiAl at room temperatures. The negative TCR, low resistivity values at high temperatures, and temperature stability are not typically seen in bulk TiAl. This abnormal electrical property is explained using a modified model for a thermally activated polaron-hopping mechanism.


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