Ni41.7Ti38.8Nb19.5 shape memory alloy films were sputter-deposited onto silicon substrates and annealed at various temperatures. A narrow thermal hysteresis was obtained in the Ni-Ti-Nb films with a grain size of less than 50 nm. The small grain size, which means an increase in the volume fraction of grain boundaries, facilitates the phase transformation and reduces the hysteresis. The corresponding less transformation friction and lower heat transfer during the shear process, as well as reduced spontaneous lattice distortion, are responsible for this reduction of the thermal hysteresis.

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