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Gil Capote, Luis Francisco Bonetti, Lucia Vieira Santos, Vladimir Jesus Trava-Airoldi, Evaldo Jose Corat

Adherent amorphous hydrogenated carbon films on metals deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition

Thin Solid Films 516 (2008) 4011-4017

This paper reports the findings of a study of the structural, mechanical, and tribological properties of amorphous hydrogenated carbon (a-C:H) coatings for industrial applications. These thin films have proven quite advantageous in many tribological applications, but for others, thicker films are required. In this study, in order to overcome the high residual stress and low adherence of a-C:H films on metal substrates, a thin amorphous silicon interlayer was deposited as an interface. Amorphous silicon and a-C:H films were grown by using a radio frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition system at 13.56 MHz in silane and methane atmospheres, respectively. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy technique was employed to analyze the chemical bonding within the interfaces. The chemical composition and atomic density of the a-C:H films were determined by ion beam analysis. The film microstructure was studied by means of Raman scattering spectroscopy. The total stress was determined through the measurement of the substrate curvature, using a profilometer, while micro-indentation experiments helped determine the films' hardness. The friction coefficient and critical load were evaluated by using a tribometer. The results showed that the use of the amorphous silicon interlayer improved the a-C:H film deposition onto metal substrates, producing good adhesion, low compressive stress, and a high degree of hardness. SiC was observed in the interface between the amorphous silicon and a-C:H films. The composition, the microstructure, the mechanical and tribological properties of the films were strongly dependent on the self-bias voltages. The tests confirmed the importance of the intensity of ion bombardment during film growth on the mechanical and tribological properties of the films. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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