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AlN/CrN multilayer hard coatings with various bilayer thicknesses were fabricated by a reactive sputtering process. The microstructural and mechanical characterizations of multilayer coatings were investigated through transmission electron microscope (TEM) observations and the hardness
measurements by nano indentation. In particular, the variation of chemical bonding states of the bilayer nitrides was elucidated by near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy. Many broken nitrogen bonds were formed by decreasing the bilayer thickness of AlN/CrN multilayer
coatings. Existence of optimum AlN/CrN multilayer coatings thickness for maximum hardness could be explained by the competition of softening by the formation of broken nitrogen bonds and strengthening induced by decreasing bilayer thickness.
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.