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High rate deposition of hard a-C:H coatings using microwave enhanced plasma CVD

: Bialuch, I.; Bewilogua, K.; Günther, M.; Peter, S.; Richter, F.

Society of Vacuum Coaters -SVC-, Albuquerque/NM:
Society of Vacuum Coaters. 54th Annual Technical Conference 2011. Proceedings : April 16-21, 2011, Chicago, IL USA
Albuquerque: SVC, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-87806-831-6
Society of Vacuum Coaters (Annual Technical Conference) <54, 2011, Chicago/Ill.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IST ()

For the high rate deposition of hard hydrogenated diamond-like carbon films (a-C:H) microwave enhanced CVD processes were applied. Following to basic investigations, carried out in laboratory scale deposition equipment (0.04m3 chamber), the processes were transferred to an industrial scale machine (1m³) and optimized therein. The application of an asymmetric bipolar pulsed mid-frequency substrate bias allowed controlling the energies of ions striking the growing films, independently of the generation of film forming species (radicals and ions) by the microwave plasma source. After the basic investigations done with five different hydrocarbon precursors, more thorough investigations were done with the selected precursors acetylene (C2H2) and isobutylene (C4H8; isobutene). The a-C:H films were characterized with respect to deposition rates, hardness, wear, internal stresses and topography. Wear resistant and hard a-C:H films with a hardness above 25 GPa could be deposited at a high rate of 15 µm/h. The combination of high rate and high hardness values should be promising for industrial applications. For the both mentioned precursors C2H2 and C4H8 some differences in hardness - rate relations were observed. For a-C:H processes the relations between rate and hardness will be discussed.