Ion beam etching technique in the preparation of samples for cross-sectional microscopy studies of thin films and hard coatings

K. A. Pischow, A. S. Korhonen, M. Adamik, P. B. Barna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The scanning tunneling microscope has proved to be an effective tool in the structure characterization of interfaces and interlayers in thin films and coatings. However, since it lacks the deep profiling capabilities sufficient to penetrate hard coatings, an ion beam etching method has been developed for cross-sectional sample preparation. The sample preparation method is developed keeping in mind the image formation of a scanning tunneling microscope which is based on the topographical differences of the inspected surface. Thus the sample preparation process includes three main parts. Firstly, a mechanical grinding and polishing step, secondly, an ion beam polishing step for producing a smooth surface and, thirdly, an ion beam etching step for producing a topography related to the bulk microstructure of the sample. Examples of results obtained with TiN hard coatings are given, including X-ray scanning force microscopy pictures of a tribofilm grown on a TiN-coated cast iron sample during a high temperature wear test; the usefulness of the developed technique is discussed. The results achieved are compared with the structural information obtained by X-ray transmission electron microscopy analysis from the same samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Volume67
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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