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Passive films on nanocomposite carbide coatings for electrical contact applications
Uppsala University, Sweden; Impact Coatings AB, Westmansgatan 29, S-58216 Linkoping, Sweden.
ABB Corp Research, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1785-0864
Uppsala University, Sweden.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Materials Science, ISSN 0022-2461, E-ISSN 1573-4803, Vol. 52, no 13, 8231-8246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nanocomposite transition metal carbide/amorphous carbon coatings (Me-C/a-C) deposited by magnetron sputtering have excellent electrical contact properties. The contact resistance can be as low as that of noble metal coatings, although it is known to vary by several orders of magnitude depending on the deposition conditions. We have investigated a nanocrystalline niobium carbide/amorphous carbon (NbC (x) /a-C:H) model system aiming to clarify factors affecting the contact resistance for this group of contact materials. For the first time, the surface chemistry is systematically studied, by angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and in extension how it can explain the contact resistance. The coatings presented a mean oxide thickness of about 1 nm, which could be grown to 8 nm by annealing. Remarkably, the contact resistances covered four orders of magnitude and were found to be exponentially dependent on the mean oxide thickness. Moreover, there is an optimum in the amount of a-C:H phase where the contact resistance drops very significantly and it is thus important to not only consider the mean oxide thickness. To explain the results, a model relying on surface chemistry and contact mechanics is presented. The lowest contact resistance of a nanocomposite matched that of a gold coating at 1 N load (vs. gold), and such performance has previously not been demonstrated for similar nanocomposite materials, highlighting their useful properties for electrical contact applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2017. Vol. 52, no 13, 8231-8246 p.
National Category
Materials Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137372DOI: 10.1007/s10853-017-1039-0ISI: 000399422000050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-137372DiVA: diva2:1096707
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Foundation; Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems; Swedish Research Council [VR 2011-3492]; Synergy Grant FUNCASE, Functional Carbides and Advanced Surface Engineering

Available from: 2017-05-18 Created: 2017-05-18 Last updated: 2017-06-14

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