Low-temperature growth of low friction wear-resistant amorphous carbon nitride thin films by mid-frequency, high power impulse, and direct current magnetron sputtering
2015 (English)In: Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. A. Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films, ISSN 0734-2101, E-ISSN 1520-8559, Vol. 33, no 5, 05E112Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Amorphous carbon nitride (a-CNx) thin films were deposited on steel AISI52100 and Si(001) substrates using mid-frequency magnetron sputtering (MFMS) with an MF bias voltage, high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) with a synchronized HiPIMS bias voltage, and direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) with a DC bias voltage. The films were deposited at a low substrate temperature of 150 °C and a N2/Ar flow ratio of 0.16 at the total pressure of 400 mPa. The negative bias voltage (Vs) was varied from 20 V to 120 V in each of the three deposition modes. The microstructure of the films was characterized by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED), while the film morphology was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). All films possessed amorphous microstructure with clearly developed columns extending throughout the entire film thickness. Layers grown with the lowest substrate bias of 20 V exhibited pronounced intercolumnar porosity, independent of the technique used. Voids closed and dense films formed at Vs ≥ 60 V, Vs ≥ 100 V and Vs = 120 V for MFMS, DCMS and HiPIMS, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed that the nitrogen-to-carbon ratio, N/C, of the films ranged between 0.2 and 0.24. Elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA) showed that Ar content varied between 0 and 0.8 at% and increases as a function of Vs for all deposition techniques. All films exhibited compressive residual stress, σ, which depends on the growth method; HiPIMS produces the least stressed films with stress between – 0.4 and – 1.2 GPa for all Vs values, while for CNx films deposited by MFMS σ = – 4.2 GPa. Nanoindentation showed a significant increase in film hardness and reduced elastic modulus with increasing Vs for all techniques. The harder films were produced by MFMS with hardness as high as 25 GPa. Low friction coefficients, between 0.05 and 0.06, were recorded for all films. Furthermore, CNx films produced by MFMS and DCMS at Vs = 100 V and 120 V presented a high wear resistance with wear coefficients of k ≤ 2.3 x 10-5 mm3/Nm.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 33, no 5, 05E112
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118343DOI: 10.1116/1.4923275ISI: 000361229000012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-118343DiVA: diva2:814504
On the day of the defence date the status of this article was Manuscript.2015-05-272015-05-272016-08-31Bibliographically approved