Thin Films & Nanostructured Materials
Novel high-performance nanostructured thin films with superior structural and functional properties are required for advanced applications such as micro-/nanoelectronics, energy production, sensors and wear protection. Especially, mutually excluding structural properties such as high strength and ductility need to be combined, but also resistance to harsh environments such as corrosive environment, wear, and high temperature must be improved. Key to control the properties is the film architecture and microstructure. In order to trigger microstructure induced material properties control of the micro-scale porosity, atomic composition, average grain size, phase distribution, and layer/film thickness must be optimized.
In this context, the mission of this group is to synthetize novel nanostructured thin films with high performances. Thin films are deposited by molecular beam epitaxy and DC magnetron sputtering enabling to accurate control film morphology, composition and thickness selecting proper deposition parameters. Post-thermal annealing treatments are exploited as well to probe the thermal stability, to induce crystallization and to control the grain size. Among different material classes, a special focus is devoted to nanocrystalline, metallic glasses and high entropy alloys thin films, all representing promising materials for which the relationship atomic structure/(mechanical) properties is still to uncover. Furthermore, key research of the group is related to the development of novel engineered thin films exploiting different strategies including multilayer formation and the development of composite amorphous/crystalline films with a tuned dispersion of crystalline phase within the amorphous matrix.
Overall, the group will focus on the development of novel nanostructured thin films, while in-depth exploring the relationship with physical and mechanical properties combining a great interest for fundamental science and applications.