F. C. N. Hong


1 In situ High Temperature Characterization of Diamond-Like Carbon Films

Authors: M. Rouhani, F. C. N. Hong, Y. R. Jeng


The tribological performance of DLC films is limited by graphitization at elevated temperatures. Despite of numerous studies on the thermal stability of DLC films, a comprehensive in-situ characterization at elevated temperature is still lacking. In this study, DLC films were deposited using filtered cathodic arc vacuum method. Thermal stability of the films was characterized in-situally using a synchronized technique integrating Raman spectroscopy and depth-sensing measurements. Tests were performed in a high temperature chamber coupled with feedback control to make it possible to study the temperature effects in the range of 21 – 450 ̊C. Co-located SPM and Raman microscopy maps at different temperature over a specific area on the surface of the film were prepared. The results show that the thermal stability of the DLC films depends on their sp3 content. Films with lower sp3 content endure graphitization during the temperature-course used in this study. The graphitization is accompanied with significant changes in surface roughness and Raman spectrum of the film. Surface roughness of the films start to change even before graphitization transformation could be detected using Raman spectroscopy. Depth-sensing tests (nanoindentation, nano-scratch and wear) endorse the surface roughness change seen before graphitization occurrence. This in-situ study showed that the surface of the films is more sensitive to temperature rise compared to the bulk. We presume the changes observed in films hardness, surface roughness and scratch resistance with temperature rise, before graphitization occurrence, is due to surface relaxation.

Keywords: Raman spectroscopy, Thermal Stability, Nanoindentation, DLC film

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