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Open Access Controllable phase structure and mechanical properties of ZrB2–NbN nanocomposite films by magnetron co-sputtering

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ZrB2–NbN nanocomposite films at different powers of ZrB2 were effectively deposited on Si (100) substrate via multi-target magnetron co-sputtering system. The influence of the power of ZrB2 on the phase structures and mechanical properties of the nanocomposite films was investigated. Higher power of ZrB2 led to an increase in the bombarding energy and content of ZrB2. The cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) examinations indicated that different contents of ZrB2 and NbN affected ZrB2 (001) and (002) textures. ZrB2 grew from amorphous to crystalline through whole films as power of ZrB2 increased. During deposition process, NbN kept amorphous. With the power of ZrB2 increasing gradually, the columnar textures of ZrB2 were surrounded by amorphous NbN, which inhibited the growth of grain size and then enhanced the mechanical properties of the nanocomposite films. The maximum elastic modulus and hardness were up to 357.4 GPa and 34.8 GPa at ZrB2 power of 100 W. These results revealed that appropriate ZrB2 power could improve the mechanical properties of ZrB2–NbN nanocomposite films.

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Keywords: ELASTIC MODULUS; GRAIN SIZE; HARDNESS; MAGNETRON SPUTTERING; SPUTTERING POWER; ZRB2–NBN NANOCOMPOSITE FILMS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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