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Low-temperature growth of low friction wear-resistant amorphous carbon nitride thin films by mid-frequency, high power impulse, and direct current magnetron sputtering
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Semiconductor Materials. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1000-0437
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. A. Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films, ISSN 0734-2101, E-ISSN 1520-8559, Vol. 33, no 5, 05E112Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Amorphous carbon nitride (a-CNx) thin films were deposited on steel AISI52100 and Si(001) substrates using mid-frequency magnetron sputtering (MFMS) with an MF bias voltage, high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) with a synchronized HiPIMS bias voltage, and direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) with a DC bias voltage. The films were deposited at a low substrate temperature of 150 °C and a N2/Ar flow ratio of 0.16 at the total pressure of 400 mPa. The negative bias voltage (Vs) was varied from 20 V to 120 V in each of the three deposition modes. The microstructure of the films was characterized by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED), while the film morphology was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). All films possessed amorphous microstructure with clearly developed columns extending throughout the entire film thickness. Layers grown with the lowest substrate bias of 20 V exhibited pronounced intercolumnar porosity, independent of the technique used. Voids closed and dense films formed at Vs ≥ 60 V, Vs ≥ 100 V and Vs = 120 V for MFMS, DCMS and HiPIMS, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed that the nitrogen-to-carbon ratio, N/C, of the films ranged between 0.2 and 0.24. Elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA) showed that Ar content varied between 0 and 0.8 at% and increases as a function of Vs for all deposition techniques. All films exhibited compressive residual stress, σ, which depends on the growth method; HiPIMS produces the least stressed films with stress between – 0.4 and – 1.2 GPa for all Vs values, while for CNx films deposited by MFMS σ = – 4.2 GPa. Nanoindentation showed a significant increase in film hardness and reduced elastic modulus with increasing Vs for all techniques. The harder films were produced by MFMS with hardness as high as 25 GPa. Low friction coefficients, between 0.05 and 0.06, were recorded for all films. Furthermore, CNx films produced by MFMS and DCMS at Vs = 100 V and 120 V presented a high wear resistance with wear coefficients of k ≤ 2.3 x 10-5 mm3/Nm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 33, no 5, 05E112
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118343DOI: 10.1116/1.4923275ISI: 000361229000012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-118343DiVA: diva2:814504
Note

On the day of the defence date the status of this article was Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-05-27 Created: 2015-05-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Low Friction and Wear Resistant Carbon Nitride Thin Films for Rolling Components Grown by Magnetron Sputtering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low Friction and Wear Resistant Carbon Nitride Thin Films for Rolling Components Grown by Magnetron Sputtering
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The scope of this licentiate thesis is the investigation of carbon based thin films suitable for rolling components, especially roller bearings. Carbon and carbon nitride are materials with advantageous tribological properties and high resiliency. Such materials are required in order to withstand the demanding conditions of bearing operation, such as high loads and corrosive environments. A fundamental condition for coated bearings is that the deposition temperature must be striktly limited. Thus, carbon nitride (CNx) thin films were synthesized here at low temperature of 150 oC by different reactive magnetron sputtering techniques, which are mid-frequency magnetron sputtering (MFMS), direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS), and high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS). While DCMS is a very well studied technique for carbon based films, MFMS and HiPIMS are relatively new sputtering techniques for carbon, and especially CNx depositions. Using different magnetron sputtering techniques, different ionization conditions prevail in the chamber during each process and influence the obtained film properties at a great extent. It was found that bias duty cycles and the amount of working gas ions are key parameters and affect the morphology and microstructure as well as the mechanical response of the films. Moreover, different bias voltages, from 20 V up to 120 V were applied during the processes in order to investigate the changes that the different ion energies induce in the film structure.

The structural, mechanical and tribological properties of CNx films are also presented in this licentiate thesis. The morphology of CNx films strongly depends on both the deposition technique and ion energy. The special configuration of MFMS mode produces highly homogeneous and dense films even from low applied bias voltages, while in HiPIMS mode high bias voltages above 100 V must be applied in order to produce films with similar structural characteristics. DCMS is also proven as a good technique for homogeneous and dense films. Low bias voltages do not favor  homogeneous structures, thus at 20 V all techniques produced films with columnar structures with intercolumnar voids. High bias voltages influence the N incorporation in the films, with the appearance of re-sputtering of N-containing species and a promotion of sp2 bonding configurations with increasing ion energy. Nevertheless, the different deposition mode influences the sp2 content in different ways, with only MFMS showing a clear increase of sp2 content with increasing bias voltage and HiPIMS showing relatively constant sp2 content. The morphology and microstructure of the CNx films affects their mechanical response, with higher ion energies producing harder films. A dependency of hardness and elastic modulus with increasing ion energy was obtained, where for all deposition modes, hardness and elastic modulus increase linearly with increasing bias voltage. Films with hardness as high as 25 GPa were synthesized by MFMS at 120 V , while the softer film yielded a hardness of 7 GPa and was deposited by HiPIMS at 20 V . The elastic recovery of the films differs with increasing ion energies, presenting a correlation with the C sp2 bond content. The highest elastic recovery of 90% was extracted for the film deposited by MFMS at 120 V and is a value similar to the elastic recovery obtained for FL-CNx films. All films developed compressive residual stresses, depending also on the ion energies and the deposition mode used. It is demonstrated that the induced stresses in the films increase when denser and more homogeneous film morphologies are obtained and with higher Ar intercalcation. Low friction coefficients were obtained for all films between 0.05 and 0.07, although the deposition conditions are not detrimental for the development of friction coefficient. The wear resistance of the films was found to be dependent on the morphology and to some extent on the microstructure of the films. Harder, denser, and more homogeneous films have higher wear resistance. Especially, CNx films deposited by MFMS at 120 V present no wear.

The tribological characteristics of the surface of the films were also investigated at nanoscale by a new reciprocal wear test. In this wear test, the recording of the track profile is performed in between consecutive test cycles, eliminating also thermal drift. The very low wear of the films deposited by MFMS at 100 V and 120 V revealed that during the wear test a phase transformation on the surface may take place, possibly graphitization. It is also demonstrated the way that the surface characteristics, such as asperities and roughness affects the tribological measurements. Attention is also turned to the presence of large asperities on the film surface and the way they affect the obtained average friction coefficient and tribological measured data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 71 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1714
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118349 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-118349 (DOI)978-91-7519-051-8 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-06-12, Schrödinger, E324 - Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universite, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

The series name Linköping Studies in Science and Technology Licentiate Thesis is incorrect. Correct series name is Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis.

Available from: 2015-05-27 Created: 2015-05-27 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved
2. Low-friction and wear-resistant carbon nitride coatings for bearing components grown by magnetron sputtering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low-friction and wear-resistant carbon nitride coatings for bearing components grown by magnetron sputtering
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The scope of this thesis is the investigation of magnetron sputtered carbon nitride coatings suitable for roller bearing components. The research field of tribology of bearings focuses on minimizing friction between components by improving the lubricants. The development of lubricants is, however, expensive and involves environmentally deleterious chemical byproducts. A solution to avoid such harmful conditions, reduce the processing cost, and more importantly, minimize the friction, is to apply a low-friction and wear-resistant coating on the surface of the bearing. The deposition of such coatings on components can substantially increase their lifetime, reduce the maintenance costs, and eventually increase the reliability of the machinery.

Carbon nitride (CNx) coatings have high resiliency and can withstand the demanding conditions of bearing operation. The morphology of CNx coatings is highly affected by applying a negative substrate bias voltage. At high bias (100-120 V ), the coatings become denser and more homogeneous with decreased porosity, resulting in more wear-resistant materials. I also found that the duty cycle of the applied bias affects the layer morphology. Less homogeneous films are produced using lower duty cycles (i.e., in high power impulse magnetron sputtering, HiPIMS) for a specific value of bias voltage. Thus, changing bias voltage, we can manipulate the structure of CNx and design layers, depending on the requirements of the bearing application.

My results show that denser films yield higher hardness and wear-resistance, but also higher compressive stress, which is a disadvantage for the coating-substrate adhesion. In order to obtain improved adhesion on bearing steel, we developed an in-situ surface treatment, prior to the CNx deposition, which also surpasses the limitations set by the properties of each material. The steel substrates are successfully pretreated using W or Cr ions originating from a HiPIMS source. Plasma ions are accelerated to the substrates with energies of 900 eV , due to the application of a synchronized high bias voltage, which clean effectively the substrate surface from residual contaminants and strengthen the interfacial bonding.

CNx-coated rollers are tested in rolling operation and show the absence of run-in period in all lubrication regimes. This is a big advantage for applications which rotate under boundary lubrication (BL). The coated rollers yield friction coefficients in the range of 0:020 and 0:025 in elastohydrodynamic (EHDL) and hydrodynamic (HDL) lubrication regimes, being lower than the friction coefficients of 0:026-0:052, exhibited by the uncoated rollers. Here, friction decreases steadily with increasing number of cycles, due to the presence of CNx in the contact. In BL, CNx-coated rollers present an increased friction coefficient of 0:052, but the wear is much lower than in the case of uncoated rollers. All rollers are covered with CNx in the wear tracks after the tests, avoiding failures and presenting low abrasive wear. The obtained tribological performance of the CNx-coated rollers in rolling is overall improved compared to the established operation of uncoated rollers. Thus, CNx layers can function as low-friction and wear-resistant coatings protecting the steel components in several roller bearing applications, such as in gearboxes and wheels in automotive, aerospace, marine, and turbine industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 116 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1783
Keyword
Carbon nitride, magnetron sputtering, physical vapor deposition, coatings, bearings, rolling contact fatigue, adhesion, friction, wear, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, coatings tribology, nanotribology
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-132154 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-132154 (DOI)9789176857007 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-18, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-10-19 Created: 2016-10-19 Last updated: 2016-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Bakoglidis, Konstantinos D.Schmidt, SusannGarbrecht, MagnusIvanov, Ivan G.Jensen, JensGreczynski, GrzegorzHultman, Lars

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