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Title: Small grain size zirconium-based coatings deposited by magnetron sputtering at low temperatures
Author: Jimenez, O.
Audronis, M.
Leyland, A.
Flores, M.
Rodriguez, E.
Kanakis, K.
Matthews, A.
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Hard partly amorphous, ceramic physical vapour deposition ZrTiN(B) coatings were deposited onto (111) silicon wafers at substrate temperatures of 85 and 110 �C using closed field unbalanced magnetron sputtering. A rectangular sputter target composed of three pieces (Zr/TiB2/Zr) was used as the source of evaporation of coating components. Two different substrate biases (i.e. floating potential and - 50 V) and N2 flow rates of 2, 4 and 6 sccm were employed as deposition parameters. The chemical composition, structure, morphology and mechanical properties were investigated using a variety of analytical techniques such as glow-discharge optical emission spectroscopy, cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM), grazing angle X-ray diffraction (GAXRD) and nanoindentation. Coating properties were found to be dependent on deposition parameters (i.e. nitrogen flow rate and substrate negative bias). Linear scan profiles and SEM imaging revealed that all coatings were superficially smooth, dense and featureless (cross section fracture) with no apparent macro-defects. Structural analysis by GAXRD revealed that mostly metallic phases were formed for coatings containing no nitrogen. Whereas a solid solution Zr(Ti)N single phase was found in most of the reactively deposited coatings with very small grain sizes due to nitrogen and boron grain refinement effect. The hardness increment from 8.6 GPa to 25.9 GPa is related to the solid solution strengthening effect. The elastic modulus correlated well with the hardness behaviour; values in the range of 120-200 GPa were observed depending on the deposition parameters. � 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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