Deposition of TiNiCu-based thin films was performed using a DC sputter deposition technique. The target composition was varied such that a series of TiNiCu thin films with various compositions were obtained. It is found that the deposition rate decreases with both Ti and Ni concentrations, while increases with Cu concentration. The activation energy for crystallization was determined. The activation energy ranges from 340.4 to 702.3 kJ/mol. It increases and then decreases with Ti or Ni concentration and the peak value occurs at a composition of Ti45.7Ni41.1Cu13.2. Surface chemistry of TiNiCu-based thin films was analyzed to examine the effects of the film composition and the exposure time to the ambient condition. The result indicates a preferential formation of TiO2, which suppresses the surface concentrations of both Ni and Cu. The addition of Cu leads to the formation of copper oxide which could be reduced by the formation of TiO2, should the time permit.
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