Chemical roughness and alloy formation at metallic interfaces can significantly degrade the performance of multilayer thin film magnetic device structures. We have investigated the use of Ti interlayers, one or two atoms thick, to stabilize the interface for ordered growth of Fe films on Al(100), a system characterized by considerable interdiffusion at room temperature. The practicality of the interlayer concept is strongly coupled to the stability of the interlayer at elevated temperatures. In this investigation we have characterized the structure of thin Ti layers on Al single crystal surfaces as a function of temperature using Rutherford backscattering and channeling and low-energy ion scattering. The Ti layers are shown to be stable up to temperatures of about 675 K, at which point diffusion of Ti into the Al lattice occurs. Channeling measurements show that the Ti atoms sit on Al lattice sites as substitutional impurities. The stability of the Ti film appears to increase with the packing density of the Al surface, being slightly more stable for the close-packed Al(111) surface, and diffusing into the more open Al(110) surface at a lower temperature.

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