Magnetron sputtered Cu3N/NiTiCu shape memory thin film heterostructures for MEMS applications
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In the present study, for the first time, Cu3N/NiTiCu/Si heterostructures were successfully grown using magnetron sputtering technique. Nanocrystalline copper nitride (Cu3N with thickness ~200 nm) thin films and copper nanodots were subsequently deposited on the surface of 2-μm-thick NiTiCu shape memory thin films in order to improve the surface corrosion and nickel release properties of NiTiCu thin films. Interestingly, the phase transformation from martensite phase to austenite phase has been observed in Cu3N/NiTiCu heterostructures with corresponding change in texture and surface morphology of top Cu3N films. Field emission scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscope images of the heterostructures reveals the formation of 20-nm-sized copper nanodots on NiTiCu surface at higher deposition temperature (450 °C) of Cu3N. Cu3N passivated NiTiCu films possess low corrosion current density with higher corrosion potential and, therefore, better corrosion resistance as compared to pure NiTiCu films. The concentration of Ni released from the Cu3N/NiTiCu samples was observed to be much less than that of pure NiTiCu film. It can be reduced to the factor of about one-ninth after the surface passivation resulting in smooth, homogeneous and highly corrosion resistant surface. The antibacterial and cytotoxicity of pure and Cu3N coated NiTiCu thin films were investigated through green fluorescent protein expressing E. coli bacteria and human embryonic kidney cells. The results show the strong antibacterial property and non cytotoxicity of Cu3N/NiTiCu heterostructure. This work is of immense technological importance due to variety of BioMEMS applications.
KeywordsMagnetron sputtering NiTiCu Cu3N Nanodots
The financial support provided by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MIT), India, under Nanotechnology Initiative Program with Reference no. 20(11)/2007 VCND is highly acknowledged. The author Navjot Kaur is thankful to Ministry of human Resource and Development (MHRD), India for award of Junior Research Fellowship.
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