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Nanocomposite Metal Amorphous-Carbon Thin Films Deposited by Hybrid PVD and PECVD Technique

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Carbon based films can combine the properties of solid lubricating graphite structure and hard diamond crystal structure, i.e., high hardness, chemical inertness, high thermal conductivity and optical transparency without the crystalline structure of diamond. Issues of fundamental importance associated with nanocarbon coatings are reducing stress, improving adhesion and compatibility with substrates. In this work new nanocomposite coatings with improved toughness based in nanocrystalline phases of metals and ceramics embedded in amorphous carbon matrix are being developed within the frame of a research project: nc-MeNxCy/a-C(Me) with Me = Mo, Si, Al, Ti, etc. Carbide forming metal/carbon (Me/C) composite films with Me = Mo, W or Ti possess appropriate properties to overcome the limitation of pure DLC films. These novel coating architectures will be adopted with the objective to decrease residual stress, improve adherence and fracture toughness, obtain low friction coefficient and high wear-resistance. Nanocomposite DLC's films were deposited by hybrid technique using a PVD-Physically Vapor Deposition (magnetron sputtering) and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD), by the use of CH4 gas. The parameters varied were: deposition time, substrate temperature (180 °C) and dopant (Si + Mo) of the amorphous carbon matrix. All the depositions were made on silicon wafers and steel substrates precoated with a silicon interlayer. The characterisation of the film's physico-mechanical properties will be presented in order to understand the influence of the deposition parameters and metal content used within the a-C matrix in the thin film properties. Film microstructure and film hybridization state was characterized by Raman Spectroscopy. In order to characterize morphology SEM and AFM will be used. Film composition was measured by Energy-Dispersive X-ray analysis (EDS) and by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The contact angle for the produced DLC's on silicon substrates were also measured. Thin film adherence was studied by micro-scratch test. Residual stresses in the produced coatings will be analysed by bending technique.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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