The initial oxidation of hfnisn half‐heusler alloy by oxygen and water vapor

Oshrat Appel, Shai Cohen, Ofer Beeri, Yaniv Gelbstein, Shimon Zalkind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The MNiSn (M = Ti, Zr, Hf) n‐type semiconductor half‐Heusler alloys are leading candi-dates for the use as highly efficient waste heat recovery devices at elevated temperatures. For prac-tical applications, it is crucial to consider also the environmental stability of the alloys at working conditions, and therefore it is required to characterize and understand their oxidation behavior. This work is focused on studying the surface composition and the initial oxidation of HfNiSn alloy by oxygen and water vapor at room temperature and at 1000 K by utilizing X‐ray photoelectron spec-troscopy. During heating in vacuum, Sn segregated to the surface, creating a sub‐nanometer over-layer. Exposing the surface to both oxygen and water vapor resulted mainly in Hf oxidation to HfO2 and only minor oxidation of Sn, in accordance with the oxide formation enthalpy of the components. The alloy was more susceptible to oxidation by water vapor compared to oxygen. Long exposure of HfNiSn and ZrNiSn samples to moderate water vapor pressure and temperature, during system bakeout, resulted also in a formation of a thin SnO2 overlayer. Some comparison to the oxidation of TiNiSn and ZrNiSn, previously reported, is given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3942
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • Half‐Heusler
  • HfNiSn
  • Oxygen
  • Segregation
  • Surface oxidation
  • Thermoelectric
  • Water vapor
  • XPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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