Atomistic modeling of metallic thin films by modified embedded atom method

HL Hao and D Lau, APPLIED SURFACE SCIENCE, 422, 1139-1146 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2017.05.011

Molecular dynamics simulation is applied to investigate the deposition process of metallic thin films. Eight metals, titanium, vanadium, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, tungsten, and gold, are chosen to be deposited on the aluminum substrate. The second nearest-neighbor modified embedded atom method potential is adopted to predict their thermal and mechanical properties. When quantifying the screening parameters of the potential, the error for Young's modulus and coefficient of thermal expansion between the simulated results and the experimental measurements is less than 15%, demonstrating the reliability of the potential to predict metallic behaviors related to thermal and mechanical properties. A set of potential parameters which governs the interactions between aluminum and other metals in a binary system is also generated from ab initio calculation. The details of interfacial structures between the chosen films and substrate are successfully simulated with the help of these parameters. Our results indicate that the preferred orientation of film growth depends on the film crystal structure, and the inter-diffusion at the interface is correlated the cohesive energy parameter of potential for the binary system. Such finding provides an important basis to further understand the interfacial science, which contributes to the improvement of the mechanical properties, reliability and durability of films. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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