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Structure and properties of Cr-C/Ag films deposited by magnetron sputtering
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
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2015 (English)In: Surface & Coatings Technology, ISSN 0257-8972, E-ISSN 1879-3347, Vol. 281, 184-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cr-C/Ag thin films with 0-14 at% Ag have been deposited by magnetron sputtering from elemental targets. The samples were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to study their structure and chemical bonding. A complex nanocomposite structure consisting of three phases; nanocrystalline Ag, amorphous CrCx and amorphous carbon is reported. The carbon content in the amorphous carbide phase was determined to be 32-33 at% C, independent of Ag content Furthermore, SEM and XPS results showed higher amounts of Ag on the surface compared to the bulk. The hardness and Young's modulus were reduced from 12 to 8 GPa and from 270 to 170 GPa, respectively, with increasing Ag content. The contact resistance was found to decrease with Ag addition, with the most Ag rich sample approaching the values of an Ag reference sample. Initial tribological tests gave friction coefficients in the range of 0.3 to 0.5, with no clear trends. Annealing tests show that the material is stable after annealing at 500 degrees C for 1 h, but not after annealing at 800 degrees C for 1 h. In combination, these results suggest that sputtered Cr-C/Ag films could be potentially applicable for electric contact applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 281, 184-192 p.
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Research subject
Chemistry with specialization in Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247276DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2015.09.054ISI: 000366072200024OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-247276DiVA: diva2:795592
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RMA11-0029Swedish Research Council, 621-2011-3492
Available from: 2015-03-16 Created: 2015-03-16 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Synthesis and Characterization of Amorphous Carbide-based Thin Films
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Synthesis and Characterization of Amorphous Carbide-based Thin Films
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, research on synthesis, structure and characterization of amorphous carbide-based thin films is presented. Crystalline and nanocomposite carbide films can exhibit properties such as high electrical conductivity, high hardness and low friction and wear. These properties are in many cases structure-related, and thus, within this thesis a special focus is put on how the amorphous structure influences the material properties.

Thin films within the Zr-Si-C and Cr-C-based systems have been synthesized by magnetron sputtering from elemental targets. For the Zr-Si-C system, completely amorphous films were obtained for silicon contents of 20 at.% or higher. Modeling of these films, as well as experimental results suggest that the films exhibit a network-type structure where the bond types influence the material properties. Higher hardness and resistivity were observed with high amounts of covalent Si-C bonds.

Several studies were performed in the Cr-C-based systems. Cr-C films deposited in a wide composition range and with substrate temperatures of up to 500 °C were found to be amorphous nanocomposites, consisting of amorphous chromium carbide (a-CrCx) and amorphous carbon (a-C) phases. The carbon content in the carbidic phase was determined to about 30-35 at.% for most films. The properties of the Cr-C films were very dependent of the amount of a-C phase, and both hardness and electrical resistivity decreased with increasing a-C contents. However, electrochemical analysis showed that Cr-C films deposited at higher substrate temperature and with high carbon content exhibited very high oxidation resistance. In addition, nanocomposite films containing Ag nanoparticles within an amorphous Cr-C matrix were studied in an attempt to improve the tribological properties. No such improvements were observed but the films exhibited a better contact resistance than the corresponding binary Cr-C films. Furthermore, electrochemical analyses showed that Ag nanoparticles on the surface affected the formation of a stable passive film, which would make the Cr-C/Ag films less resilient to oxidation than the pure Cr-C films.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 63 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1239
Keyword
Amorphous, coating, thin film, nanocomposite, sputter deposition, PVD, XPS, SEM, TEM, electrical properties, mechanical properties
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247282 (URN)978-91-554-9198-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-08, Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-16 Created: 2015-03-16 Last updated: 2015-07-07
2. Magnetron Sputtering of Nanocomposite Carbide Coatings for Electrical Contacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Magnetron Sputtering of Nanocomposite Carbide Coatings for Electrical Contacts
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today’s electronic society relies on the functionality of electrical contacts. To achieve good contact properties, surface coatings are normally applied. Such coatings should ideally fulfill a combination of different properties, like high electrical conductivity, high corrosion resistance, high wear resistance and low cost. A common coating strategy is to use noble metals since these do not form insulating surface oxides. However, such coatings are expensive, have poor wear resistance and they are often applied by electroplating, which poses environmental and human health hazards.

In this thesis, nanocomposite carbide-based coatings were studied and the aim was to evaluate if they could exhibit properties that were suitable for electrical contacts. Coatings in the Cr-C, Cr-C-Ag and Nb-C systems were deposited by magnetron sputtering using research-based equipment as well as industrial-based equipment designed for high-volume production. To achieve the aim, the microstructure and composition of the coatings were characterized, whereas mechanical, tribological, electrical, electrochemical and optical properties were evaluated. A method to optically measure the amount of carbon was developed.

In the Cr-C system, a variety of deposition conditions were explored and amorphous carbide/amorphous carbon (a-C) nanocomposite coatings could be obtained at substrate temperatures up to 500 °C. The amount of a-C was highly dependent on the total carbon content. By co-sputtering with Ag, coatings comprising an amorphous carbide/carbon matrix, with embedded Ag nanoclusters, were obtained. Large numbers of Ag nanoparticles were also found on the surfaces. In the Nb-C system, nanocrystalline carbide/a-C coatings could be deposited. It was found that the nanocomposite coatings formed very thin passive films, consisting of both oxide and a-C.

The Cr-C coatings exhibited low hardness and low-friction properties. In electrochemical experiments, the Cr-C coatings exhibited high oxidation resistance. For the Cr-C-Ag coatings, the Ag nanoparticles oxidized at much lower potentials than bulk Ag. Overall, electrical contact resistances for optimized samples were close to noble metal references at low contact load. Thus, the studied coatings were found to have properties that make them suitable for electrical contact applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 74 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1417
Keyword
transition metal carbide, amorphous carbon, composite, contact resistance, corrosion, friction, optical properties
National Category
Materials Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Ceramics Nano Technology Composite Science and Engineering Corrosion Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302063 (URN)978-91-554-9676-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-14, Häggsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-22 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2016-10-11

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