Evolution of Structure, Composition, and Stress in Nanoporous Gold Thin Films with Grain-Boundary Cracks
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Nanoporous gold (np-Au) thin films were fabricated from Au-Ag alloy films sputtered onto substrates. At several stages of dealloying, the evolution of the microstructure and Ag content were analyzed and stress in the np-Au thin films was measured. A nanoporous structure evolved almost immediately throughout the film thickness, and the ligament width coarsened during further dealloying, with a time dependence of t1/8. The initial alloy films, which contained 25 at. pct Au, became stress free after extended dealloying and during thermal cycling up to 200 °C. Preferential dissolution caused cracking at grain boundaries, which accommodated a portion of the volume contraction from dealloying, but the films nonetheless remained attached to their substrates.