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Amorphization in iron nitride thin films prepared by reactive ion-beam sputtering

Abstract : Reactive ion-beam sputtering has been used to prepare iron nitride over a wide composition range. It is found that the samples deposited at room temperature exhibit amorphous phase in the composition range from 12 at. % nitrogen to 23 at. % nitrogen. For samples deposited at liquid nitrogen temperature the system is amorphous up to 35 at. % nitrogen. Amorphization can be understood in terms of a frustration in the system due to a competition between alpha and epsilon phases. Kinetic constraints are also found to play a role in the amorphization process. Mössbauer measurements suggest that the local order in the amorphous phase consists of a mixture of alpha-Fe–like and epsilon-Fe3N–like short-range orders. On the iron rich side the amorphous phase exhibits two-step crystallization, with a primary alpha-Fe phase precipitating out in the first step. Around 22 at. % nitrogen the system exhibits a single step isomorphous transformation to epsilon phase. Thus, amorphous iron nitride phases exhibit behavior very similar to the conventional transition metal-metalloid amorphous alloys. In the remaining composition range nanocrystalline phases are formed. The amorphous magnetic iron nitride phases are expected to have distinct advantages over their crystalline counterparts in terms of soft magnetic applications.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 2, 2007 - 11:06:54 AM
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R. Dubey, Anupam Gupta, J.C. Pivin. Amorphization in iron nitride thin films prepared by reactive ion-beam sputtering. Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, American Physical Society, 2006, 74, pp.214110. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.74.214110⟩. ⟨in2p3-00128677⟩



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