On the origins of hardness of Cu-TiN nanolayered composites

S. Pathak, N. Li, X. Maeder, R. G. Hoagland, J. K. Baldwin, J. Michler, A. Misra, J. Wang, N. A. Mara

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12 Scopus citations


We investigated the mechanical response of physical vapor deposited Cu-TiN nanolayered composites of varying layer thicknesses from 5 nm to 200 nm. Both the Cu and TiN layers were found to consist of single phase nanometer sized grains. The grain sizes in the Cu and TiN layers, measured using transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, were found to be comparable to or smaller than their respective layer thicknesses. Indentation hardness testing revealed that the hardness of such nanolayered composites exhibits a weak dependence on the layer thickness but is more correlated to their grain size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10727
Pages (from-to)48-51
Number of pages4
JournalScripta Materialia
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Energy , Office of Science , Basic Energy Sciences . This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Los Alamos National Laboratory, an affirmative action equal opportunity employer, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC52-06NA25396. SP gratefully acknowledges funding from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for this work.


  • Grain size
  • Hardness
  • Layer thickness
  • Multilayers

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