Amorphous Nb-Si alloys have a temperature-dependent resistivity which can be tuned over many decades by controlling composition and are used for thin-film thermometers. Annealing at temperatures from 100 to 500 °C produces dramatic but easily controlled increases in resistivity, both magnitude and temperature dependence, for insulating and metallic samples with compositions ranging from 8-15 at. %Nb. A transition from metal to insulator is induced by annealing an initially metallic sample. Annealing produces thermal stability against subsequent heat treatment, allowing annealed films to be used as low-temperature thermometers even when they are cycled to temperatures as high as 500 °C. Cross-section transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive x-ray analysis show that the initially amorphous films develop Nb-rich clusters within an amorphous Nb-depleted matrix, explaining the observed resistivity increase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)