Swift heavy ion induced surface and microstructural evolution in metallic glass thin films

Hysen Thomas*, Senoy Thomas, Raju V. Ramanujan, D. K. Avasthi, I. A. Al- Omari, Salim Al-Harthi, M. R. Anantharaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Swift heavy ion induced changes in microstructure and surface morphology of vapor deposited Fe-Ni based metallic glass thin films have been investigated by using atomic force microscopy, X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. Ion beam irradiation was carried out at room temperature with 103 MeV Au 9+ beam with fluences ranging from 3 × 10 11 to 3 × 10 13 ions/cm 2. The atomic force microscopy images were subjected to power spectral density analysis and roughness analysis using an image analysis software. Clusters were found in the image of as-deposited samples, which indicates that the film growth is dominated by the island growth mode. As-deposited films were amorphous as evidenced from X-ray diffraction; however, high resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements revealed a short range atomic order in the samples with crystallites of size around 3 nm embedded in an amorphous matrix. X-ray diffraction pattern of the as-deposited films after irradiation does not show any appreciable changes, indicating that the passage of swift heavy ions stabilizes the short range atomic ordering, or even creates further amorphization. The crystallinity of the as-deposited Fe-Ni based films was improved by thermal annealing, and diffraction results indicated that ion beam irradiation on annealed samples results in grain fragmentation. On bombarding annealed films, the surface roughness of the films decreased initially, then, at higher fluences it increased. The observed change in surface morphology of the irradiated films is attributed to the interplay between ion induced sputtering, volume diffusion and surface diffusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2012


  • AFM
  • Magnetic Thin Films
  • PSD
  • SPIP
  • Swift Heavy Ion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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