Although the accepted Ni-W phase diagram does not reveal the existence of h.c.p.-based phases, h.c.p.-like stacking sequences were observed in magnetron-co-sputtered Ni-W thin films at W contents of 20 to 25 at. %, by using transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The occurrence of this h.c.p.-like solid-solution phase could be rationalized by first-principles calculations, showing that the vicinity of the system's ground-state line is populated with metastable h.c.p.-based superstructures in the intermediate concentration range from 20 to 50 at. % W. The h.c.p.-like stacking in Ni-W films was observed to be thermally persistent, up to temperatures as high as at least 850 K, as evidenced by extensive X-ray diffraction analyses on specimens before and after annealing treatments. The tendency of Ni-W for excessive planar faulting is discussed in the light of these new findings.

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