Thermally Stable Nanotwins: New Heights for Cu Mechanics

Edwards, Thomas Edward James; Rohbeck, Nadia; Huszár, Emese; Thomas, Keith; Putz, Barbara; Polyakov, Mikhail Nikolayevich; Maeder, Xavier; Pethö, Laszlo; Michler, Johann

Advanced Science 9 (2022)

Nanocrystalline and nanotwinned materials achieve exceptional strengths through small grain sizes. Due to large areas of crystal interfaces, they are highly susceptible to grain growth and creep deformation, even at ambient temperatures. Here, ultrahigh strength nanotwinned copper microstructures have been stabilized against high temperature exposure while largely retaining electrical conductivity. By incorporating less than 1 vol% insoluble tungsten nanoparticles by a novel hybrid deposition method, both the ease of formation and the high temperature stability of nanotwins are dramatically enhanced up to at least 400 °C. By avoiding grain coarsening, improved high temperature creep properties arise as the coherent twin boundaries are poor diffusion paths, while some size-based nanotwin strengthening is retained. Such microstructures hold promise for more robust microchip interconnects and stronger electric motor components.