Thermal stress hardening of a-Si[sub 3]N[sub 4]/nc-TiN nanostructured multilayers

Xu, Junhua; Yu, Lihua; Azuma, Yasushi; Fujimoto, Toshiyuki; Umehara, Hiroyuki; Kojima, Isao
November 2002
Applied Physics Letters;11/25/2002, Vol. 81 Issue 22, p4139
Academic Journal
Amorphous/nanopolycrystalline Si[SUB3]N[SUB4]/TiN nanostructured multilayer films have been fabricated by radio-frequency reactive magnetron sputtering. The effects of deposition temperature, modulation period, and the layer thickness ratio on the hardness have been studied, in order to elucidate the hardening mechanisms in these multilayers. The hardness of the Si[SUB3]N[SUB4]/TiN multilayers is affected not only by the modulation periods, but also by the layer thickness ratio and deposition temperature. The hardness value is about 40% higher than the value calculated from the rule of mixtures at a deposition temperature of 500°C and a modulation ratio (l[SUBSi[SUB3]]N[SUB[SUB4]]/l[SUBTiN]) of 3/1. Based on the experimental results, it is suggested that the alternating stress field caused by thermal mismatch between Si[SUB3]N[SUB4] and TiN is one of the main reasons for the superhardness effect in Si[SUP3]N[SUB4]/TiN nanostructured multilayers.


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