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Thermec 2013 - 2013
Corinna Sabitzer (C. Sabitzer)
"Reactive and non-reactive deposition of Al-Cr-N coatings using metallic, intermetallic, and ceramic target material"
C. Sabitzer1, S. Kolozsvári2, M. Arndt3, R. Rachbauer3, J. Paulitsch1,4, P. H. Mayrhofer1,4

1 Christian Doppler Laboratory for Application Oriented Coating Development at the Institute of Materials Science and Technology, Vienna University of Technology, 1040 Vienna, Austria
2 Plansee Composite Materials GmbH, 86983 Lechbruck am See, Germany
3 Oerlikon Balzers Coating AG, 9469 Balzers, Principality of Liechtenstein
4 Institute of Materials Science and Technology, Vienna University of Technology, 1040 Vienna, Austria
Physical Vapour Deposition techniques, like magnetron sputtering or arc evaporation, are highly valued for industrial applications to synthesize hard protective coatings with superior performance. Generally, powder metallurgically prepared targets composed of e.g. metallic Al and Cr particles are used in a reactive nitrogen atmosphere to deposit AlxCr1-xN. For both deposition processes, the influence of various deposition parameters ? like partial pressure, gas mixture, or temperature ? on the coating performance is well investigated, but only little information is available concerning the impact of the target material itself. Therefore specially developed powder metallurgical prepared targets, with a comparable Al/Cr ratio, consisting of metallic Al and Cr, intermetallic Al8Cr5, and ceramic AlN and CrN powder were used to deposit Al0.7Cr0.3N films. Furthermore, due to the possibility to use a ceramic target material comparative investigations on the influence of a reactive (Ar/N2 atmosphere) and non-reactive (Ar atmosphere) deposition were carried out. Detailed analysis of the resulting microstructure, mechanical properties as well as thermal stability and oxidation resistance indicate a strong influence of the different targets used. Changing from the metallic target materials to the ceramic-like target and from reactive to a non-reactive deposition process the preferred orientation of the AlxCr1-xN film can be altered from preferred (111) to (200). Further on, fracture cross sections indicate a more nano-crystalline-like morphology as well as a significantly increase in deposition rate from values between 11 and 16 nm/min to 23 nm/min, respectively, when using non-reactive deposition to prepare AlxCr1-xN. Hardness evaluations demonstrate that values around 25 GPa can be obtained when using the nitride target material, which is twice as high as for reactively deposited coatings from standard metallic Al/Cr targets using similar process parameters. Also, investigations on the thermal stability, especially with respect to the onset of Cr-N dissociation, indicate a clear shift of decomposition to higher temperatures for coatings prepared from optimized target materials.

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