SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • sputter deposition;
  • hard coatings;
  • metastable phases;
  • nitrides;
  • carbides;
  • amorphous carbon;
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS);
  • X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES);
  • extended X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy (EXAFS)

V–Al–C–N hard coatings with high carbon content were deposited by reactive radio-frequency magnetron sputtering using an experimental combinatorial approach, deposition from a segmented sputter target. The composition-dependent coexisting phases within the coating were analysed using the complementary methods of X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy (EXAFS). For the analysis of the X-ray absorption near-edge spectra, a new approach for evaluation of the pre-edge peak was developed, taking into account the self-absorption effects in thin films. Within the studied composition range, a mixed face-centred cubic (V,Al)(C,N) phase coexisting with a C–C-containing phase was observed. No indication of hexagonal (V,Al)(N,C) was found. The example of V–Al–C–N demonstrates how important a combination of complementary methods is for the detection of coexisting phases in complex multi-element coatings.