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Journal Articles Thin Solid Films Year : 2019

Elastic properties of α- and β-tantalum thin films


We comparatively study the elastic properties of the two existing polytypes of tantalum, α-Ta (ground state bcc structure) and β-Ta (metastable tetragonal structure), using density functional theory (DFT) calculations and thin film growth experiments. The lattice parameter and the single-crystal elastic constants cij for the two allotropic structures were computed using pseudo-potentials with generalized gradient approximation. Sound velocity measurements on single-phase, highly-textured (001) β-Ta and (110) α-Ta films deposited by magnetron sputtering were carried out using picosecond laser ultrasonic and Brillouin light scattering techniques, while hardness H and Young's modulus E were measured using nanoindentation. We found that the β-Ta phase is significantly harder (H~18.0 GPa) than α-Ta (H~10.3 GPa), while their elastic stiffness properties and Cauchy pressure p are similar, C33~285–310 GPa, E~ 188 GPa, p ~ 70–80 GPa, and agree well with the computed values. However, the out-of-plane shear modulus G of the β-Ta film is softer by 28% with respect to that of α-Ta film and DFT values (50 vs. 69 GPa). The present findings reveal that, contrarily to common claims, the β-Ta phase is not at all brittle but elastically and plastically deforms in a compliant way. Its toughness and elastic strain to failure ability is further comprehended from low G/B (0.205) and high H/E (≈0.1) ratios and the absence of radial cracks around indents, which suggests that β-Ta is also a suitable phase for use as wear-resistant coating in biomedical applications.
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hal-02457454 , version 1 (21-12-2021)


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G. Abadias, J.J. Colin, D. Tingaud, Ph. Djemia, Laurent Belliard, et al.. Elastic properties of α- and β-tantalum thin films. Thin Solid Films, 2019, 688, pp.137403. ⟨10.1016/j.tsf.2019.06.053⟩. ⟨hal-02457454⟩
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