Coherent interfaces increase strain-hardening behavior in tri-component nano-scale metallic multilayer thin films

R. L. Schoeppner; J. M. Wheeler; J. Zechner; J. Michler; H. M. Zbib; D. F. Bahr

Materials Research Letters 3 (2015) 114-119

Strain-hardening in tri-component nano-scale metallic multilayers was investigated using nanoindentation and micro-pillar compression. Cu/Ni/Nb films were made in tri-layer structures as well as bi-layers consisting of an alloy of Cu-Ni/Nb. Strain-hardening increases as the layer thickness decreases, with 5 nm layers exhibiting higher strengths and hardening coefficients than 30 nm layers. The experimental evidence is described in light of the confined layer slip model, and supports the hypothesis that coherent interfaces with a modulus mismatch in the tri-layer system are responsible for additional deformation mechanisms that can lead to hardening in excess of that found in bi-layer systems.