STM/AFM studies of the evolution of morphology of electroplated Ni/W alloys Academic Article uri icon


  • The surface morphology evolution of Ni/W alloys was studied, as a function of the alloy composition. Using the modified plating baths developed in our laboratory recently, electroplated Ni/W alloys with different W content, in the range of 7–67atom percent (a/o), can be obtained. This was found to lead to different structures, ranging from polycrystalline fcc-Ni type structure to amorphous, followed by orthorhombic with increasing W content in the alloy. Powder XRD was studied to determine the crystal structures. Ex situ STM, AFM and SEM were used to study in detail the surface morphologies of the different alloys, and their evolution with increasing W content.The important findings are that a mixture of two crystalline forms can give rise to an amorphous structure. Hillocks that are usually a characteristic of epitaxial growth can also exist in the amorphous alloys. Oriented scratches caused by stress can also be formed.Up to 20a/o of W is deposited in the alloys in crystalline form, with the fcc-Ni type structure. Between 20 and about 40a/o an amorphous structure is observed, and above that an orthorhombic crystal structure is seen, which is characteristic of the NiW binary alloy. Careful choice of the composition of the plating bath allowed us to deposit an alloy containing 67a/o W, which corresponds to the composition NiW2.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002