Transmission electron microscopy of nanocomposite Cr{single bond}B-N thin films

É Hegedus, I. Kovács, B. Pécz, L. Tóth, K. P. Budna, C. Mitterer

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Abstract

This paper reports on the preparation and characterization of Cr{single bond}B{single bond}N nanocomposite coatings for low friction, low wear and high thermostability applications. Sputtered Cr{single bond}B{single bond}N thin films were prepared in order to obtain a composite structure consisting of hard CrB2 and CrN crystallites as well as hexagonal BN lubricant phase by unbalanced magnetron sputtering (UBM) of a CrB2 target in an Ar/N2 gas discharge. Coatings, with a total thickness of 4.5-5.5 μm, were deposited at 450 °C on silicon single-crystal substrates. A nanocomposite structure was obtained by increasing the nitrogen content of the sputtering gas. The coating microstructure was investigated on selected samples by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The films were generally found to consist of crystallites of a 1-4 nm size embedded in amorphous matrix. This crystalline phase was identified by electron diffraction as hexagonal CrB2 for low nitrogen content and cubic CrN for high nitrogen content. In the medium composition range, the structure was amorphous, still keeping the two-phase morphology. The use of high-resolution imaging mode helped to reveal the composition of the amorphous phase which seems predominantly to consist of boron nitride.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalVacuum
Volume82
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 29 2007

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Keywords

  • Chromium{single bond}boron{single bond}nitride
  • Nanocomposite
  • Sputtering
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Wear resistant coatings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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