An advanced method for investigation of multicomponent systems is proposed. Thin wedged-shape films of pure components are subsequently deposited to form a multilayered structure with continuously-varying composition as a function of sample location, providing a large number of differently composed samples in one deposition run. Each sample is then subjected to various heat treatments, and phase content as well as the microstructure formed is under investigation.
In this study an Au-Ag-Cu multilayered structure was sputtered at a room temperature onto 55 Formvar-coated Mo grids. The satellite-like X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) patterns of these samples revealed the formation of an artificial composition-modulated ternary superlattice, complete destruction of which was observed during heat treatments, where phase formation according to the ternary Au-Ag-Cu phase diagram took place.
Several aspects of phase formation were analyzed using XRD, Electron Probe for Micro- Analysis (EPMA) in Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) combined with Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED), Digital X-Ray Mapping (DXM), Secondary Electron Mapping and EPMA methods.