Evolution of enhanced crystallinity and mechanical property of nanocomposite Ti-Si-N thin films using magnetron reactive co-sputtering

C. K. Chung, H. C. Chang, S. C. Chang, M. W. Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Nanocomposite Ti-Si-N thin films (nc-TiN/a-SiN x or nc-TiN/a-TiSi xN y) were deposited on Si(1 0 0) substrates from pure Ti and Si targets by magnetron reactive co-sputtering with a negative bias of -150 V. The effects of N 2 flow ratio (FN 2% = FN 2/(FAr + FN 2) × 100%) and Ti power on the evolution of enhanced crystallinity and mechanical properties of Ti-Si-N have been investigated. The crystallinity, morphology, microstructure, elemental composition and mechanical properties of films were characterized by grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD), scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy and nanoindentation, respectively. When both Ti and Si target powers were fixed at 100 W, the GIXRD pattern of Ti-Si-N at 3 FN 2% exhibited a broad peak corresponding to quasi-amorphous microstructure with nanocrystalline grains embedded in an amorphous matrix. Then Ti-Si-N films showed high amount of crystallization with multiple diffraction peaks at 5 FN 2%, but the reduced peak intensity formed at 7 FN 2% and even to be amorphous films without any peak at high 10-20 FN 2%. The measured mean hardnesses of Ti-Si-N films formed at 3, 5, 7, 10 and 20 FN 2% were 18.1, 21.5, 20.4, 17.8 and 15.7 GPa, respectively. Based on the high-hardness Ti-Si-N at constant 5 FN 2%, changing Ti target power from 75 to 200 W could greatly enhance the hardness from 19.0 to 32.0 GPa. Also, the main diffraction of nanocrystalline TiN (nc-TiN) in Ti-Si-N showed poly-orientation from (1 1 1), (2 0 0) and (2 2 0) planes, and the dominant preferred orientation of nc-TiN is along (2 0 0) plane normal. The relationship among parameters, crystallinity and mechanical properties of Ti-Si-N has further been discussed and correlated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-322
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 5

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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