Principles for designing sputtering-based strategies for high-rate synthesis of dense and hard hydrogenated amorphous carbon thin films
2014 (English)In: Diamond and related materials, ISSN 0925-9635, Vol. 44, 117-122 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In the present study we contribute to the understanding that is required for designing sputtering-based routes for high rate synthesis of hard and dense amorphous carbon (a-C) films. We compile and implement a strategy for synthesis of a-C thin films that entails coupling a hydrocarbon gas (acetylene) with high density discharges generated by the superposition of high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) and direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS). Appropriate control of discharge density (by tuning HiPIMS/DCMS power ratio), gas phase composition and energy of the ionized depositing species leads to a route capable of providing ten-fold increase in the deposition rate of a-C film growth compared to HiPIMS Ar discharge (Aijaz et al. Diamond and Related Materials 23 (2012) 1). This is achieved without significant incorporation of H (< 10 %) and with relatively high hardness (> 25 GPa) and mass density (~2.32 g/cm3). Using our experimental data together with Monte-Carlo computer simulations and data from the literature we suggest that: (i) dissociative reactions triggered by the interactions of energetic discharge electrons with hydrocarbon gas molecules is an important additional (to the sputtering cathode) source of film forming species and (ii) film microstructure and film hydrogen content are primarily controlled by interactions of energetic plasma species with surface and sub-surface layers of the growing film.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 44, 117-122 p.
Hydrogenated amorphous carbon, DLC, HiPIMS, reactive sputtering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104261DOI: 10.1016/j.diamond.2014.02.014ISI: 000335272800017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-104261DiVA: diva2:696190