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In Situ Tem Study of Reactions in Iron/amorphous Carbon Layered Thin Films

  • Toshio Itoh (a1) and Robert Sinclair (a1)


Reactions between Fe and amorphous carbon (a-C) below 600ºC have been investigated. In situ annealing in a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was performed on a-C/Fe/a-C trilayer films deposited by DC sputtering. As-deposited films showed a well defined tri-layered structure and an average Fe grain size of about 50Å. Cementite (Fe3C) grains appeared in the Fe layer by annealing around 300ºC. As the annealing temperature was raised, the number and size of the cementite grains increased. When the annealing temperature reached 500ºC, the Fe layer completely turned into cementite with an average grain size of 1000Å. At this point the film still kept a well defined tri-layered structure even though some parts of the cementitelayer agglomerated. Above 500ºC, the cementite layer started to “move” into the a-C leaving graphite behind. Graphite formed in this process is strongly textured with the (0002) graphite basal planes parallel to the surface of the moving cementite. This process is concluded to be carbide mediated crystallization of a-C, similar to silicide mediated crystallization of silicon in Ni-Si and Pd-Si systems.



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