Morphology and microstructure of hard and superhard Zr-Cu-N nanocomposite coatings

Jindrich Musil, Jaroslav Vlcek, Petr Zeman, Yuichi Setsuhara, Shoji Miyake, Seiji Konuma, Masao Kumagai, Christian Mitterer

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20 Citations (Scopus)


In the present article, we compare the morphology and microstructure of hard (<40 GPa) and superhard (>40 GPa) Zr-Cu-N nanocomposite films. It is shown that the morphology strongly depends on the Cu content in the film. The film with a low (1-2 at.%) Cu content exhibits a columnar structure. In contrast, films with a higher (>5-6 at.%) Cu content have a globular structure. The hardness of films depends on both the Cu content in the film and the structure of individual phases of the nanocomposite. The nanocomposite film of type nc-/nc-exhibits higher hardness than that of type nc-/a-; here "nc-" and "a-" denote the nanocrystalline and amorphous phases, respectively. The film of type nc-ZrN/nc-Cu with a low (1-2 at.%) Cu content exhibits the highest hardness of 50 GPa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6529-6533
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1: Regular Papers and Short Notes and Review Papers
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002



  • Hardness
  • Microstructure
  • Morphology
  • Zr-Cu-N nanocomposite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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