Grain structure changes in Pd thin film during hydrogen absorption and desorption were observed by in situ atomic force microscopy. The as-sputtered film had a smooth flat surface with 20-30 nm grains. Film that absorbed hydrogen showed buckling, caused by the compressive stress due to lattice expansion as Pd metal reacted with hydrogen to form the hydride. Grains on the buckles were agglomerated and deformed unlike those on flat areas beside the buckles. Film that absorbed and then desorbed hydrogen still showed some buckling; however, many buckles shrank and flattened when the compressive stress of lattice expansion was released during desorption. On both the remaining and the shrunken buckles, grain agglomeration was retained; whereas, the deformed grains reverted back to their original form. X-ray diffraction indicated compressive residual stress in the as-sputtered film and tensile residual stress in the film after hydrogen absorption/desorption. These results indicate that irreversible grain agglomeration is related to residual tensile stress in the film although agglomeration occurs only on the buckled areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films