Effect of addition of Cu into ZrOx film on its properties

M. Jirout, J. Musil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The article reports on the effect of addition of Cu into the ZrO2 film on its structure, physical and mechanical properties. The ZrO2 and Zr-Cu-O films were reactively sputtered using a dc unbalanced magnetron from Zr (99.9) and ZrCu (90/10 at.%) targets in Ar + O2 mixture at the substrate temperature Ts = 300, 400 and 550 °C and total sputtering gas pressure pT = 1 Pa on steel, Si(100) and glass substrates. The structure of films was characterized by an X-ray diffraction (XRD) and mechanical properties, i.e. microhardness H, effective Young's modulus E* = E / (1 - ν2) and elastic recovery We, were measured using a microhardness tester; E and ν are the Young's modulus and the Poisson ratio, respectively. The film brittleness was characterized by the formation of cracks during the diamond indenter impression into it. 5 μm thick ZrO2 films prepared in the oxide mode of sputtering are crystalline (m-ZrO2) and exhibit relatively (i) high hardness H≈16 GPa and (ii) low ratio H3 / E*2≈0.11 GPa. The Zr-Cu-O films with low (≤ 2 at.%) Cu content exhibit (i) crystalline structure, (ii) higher H, (iii) lower (- 1.5 GPa) macrostress σ and (iv) higher ratio H3 / E*2≈0.14 GPa. On the contrary, the Zr-Cu-O films with high (24 to 44 at.%) Cu content exhibit (i) X-ray amorphous structure, (ii) lower H≈11 GPa and lower ratio H3 / E*2≈0.075 GPa. A special attention was devoted to the investigation of cracking of Zr-Cu-O films under high (0.5 and 1 N) loads of the diamond indenter. The relations between the film cracking and properties of the film and the substrate were used to assess the toughness of the Zr-Cu-O film. It was found that the film toughness increase with increasing H3 / E*2 ratio. It was shown that the addition of Cu to ZrO2 film can improve its toughness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6792-6800
Number of pages9
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006


  • Macrostress
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Mechanical properties
  • Structure
  • Toughness
  • Zr-Cu-O composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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