CoxAl1-x alloy clusters were synthesized from a mixture of Co and Al metal vapors generated by the sputtering of pure metal targets. We observed that the produced alloy clusters were uniform in size, ranging from approximately 20 nm for Al-rich clusters to 10 nm for Co-rich clusters. For a wide average composition range (x ≈ 0.4-0.7), the alloy clusters have the ordered B2 (CsCl-type) structure. In the Co-rich cluster aggregates (x = 0.76), the clusters are composed of face-centered-cubic (fcc) Co and minor CoAl(B2) clusters. In the Al-rich aggregates (x = 0.23), the clusters are mainly composed of the fcc-Al phase, although clusters occasionally possess a "core-shell structure" with the CoAl(B2) phase surrounded by an Al-rich amorphous phase. These observations are in general agreement with our prediction based on the equilibrium phase diagram. We also noticed that the average composition depends not only on the relative amount of Co and Al vapors, but also on their absolute amount, and even on the Ar gas flow rate, which promotes mixing and cooling the two vapors. These findings show that the formation of alloy clusters in vapor phase is strongly influenced by the kinetics of cluster formation, and is a competing process between the approach to equilibrium and the quenching of the whole system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)