Progress on Sputter-Deposited Thermotractive Titanium-Nickel Films
Department of Materials Science and Mechanics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, U.S.A.
It is now well established that titanium-nickel alloys fabricated as thin films by physical vapor deposition can display the same transformation and shape-memory effects as their ingot-metallurgy counterparts. As such they may find important application to microelectromechanical and biomechanical systems. Furthermore, we show here that titanium-nickel films may be directly processed so as to possess extremely fine austenite grain size and very high strength. These films display classical transformational superelasticity, including high elastic energy storage capacity, the expected dependence of martensite-start temperature on transformation enthalpy, and large, fully recoverable anelastic strains at temperatures above Af. Processing depends on elevated substrate temperatures during deposition, which may be manipulated within a certain range to control both grain size and crystallographic texture. It is also possible to deposit crystalline titanium-nickel films onto polymeric substrates, making them amenable to lithographic patterning into actuator elements that are well-suited to electrical excitation of the martensite reversion transformation. Finally, isothermal annealing of nickel-rich films, under conditions of controlled extrinsic residual stress, leads to topotaxial orientation of Ni4Ti3-type precipitates, and the associated possibility of two-way memory effects. Much work remains to be done, especially with respect to precise control of composition.
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