Structure and mechanical properties of magnetron sputtered Zr-Ti-Cu-N films

J. Musil, R. Daniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The article presents a detailed analysis of the structure-hardness relations in Zr-Cu-N and Zr-Ti-Cu-N films with low and high Ti content. These films were sputter deposited using a dc unbalanced magnetron equipped with a composed target, i.e. a round plate of diameter 100 mm made of ZrCu (90/10 at.%) alloy with a Ti (99.5%) fixing ring. The use of the Ti fixing ring of two internal diameters (70 or 50 mm) makes it possible to prepare Zr-Ti-Cu-N films with different Ti content, approximately with 15 or 50 at.%, respectively. The properties of the Zr-Ti-Cu-N films were compared with those of Zr-Cu-N films reactively sputtered from the same magnetron but equipped with a ZrCu (90/10 at.%) target in a mixture of argon and nitrogen at a total pressure pT = pAr + pN2 = 0.7 Pa. It was found that (i) nanostructured Zr-Cu-N and Zr-Ti-Cu-N films can form superhard materials with hardness H greater than 40 GPa, (ii) there is a strong correlation between the structure and the hardness of the films, (iii) the films with a maximum hardness Hmax are composed of a mixture of grains of different crystallographic orientations and (iv) there is no correlation between Hmax of superhard films, their stoichiometry x = N/(Zr + Ti) and Ti content in the film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2003


  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Mechanical properties
  • Structure
  • Superhardness
  • Zr-Ti-Cu-N films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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