Effect of nitrogen-incorporation on structure, properties and performance of magnetron sputtered CrB2

K. P. Budna, P. H. Mayrhofer, J. Neidhardt, É Hegedũs, I. Kovács, L. Tóth, B. Pécz, C. Mitterer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Transition metal (TM) boron nitrides are promising candidates for protective coatings with self-lubricating abilities as they can combine properties of TM diborides with the lubricity of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). Here, we report on Cr-B-N coatings prepared by unbalanced DC magnetron sputtering of a CrB2 target in argon/nitrogen atmosphere at 450 °C. By varying the nitrogen partial pressure (pN2) between 0 and 64% of the total pressure (pAr + pN2), the N-content in our coatings could be increased from 0 to 47 at.%. The results obtained from X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy show that for pN2 ≤ 11% a CrB2-based structure type develops, whereas with increasing pN2 the microstructure becomes then X-ray amorphous and finally CrN is detected as the sole crystalline constituent. With increasing pN2 from 0 to 11%, the hardness and indentation modulus rapidly decrease from 40.6 and 397 GPa for CrB2 to 13.4 and 108 GPa for CrB2.0N0.5. All coatings investigated yield only a moderate friction coefficients between 0.5 and 0.7. Based on detailed high-resolution TEM studies, we can conclude that the missing h-BN based lubricity is due to a lack of a significant long-range order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3088-3093
Number of pages6
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Mar 25 2008


  • Cr-B-N
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Microstructure
  • TEM
  • XRD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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