Synthesis and characterization of CNx/TiN multilayers on Si(100) substrates

A. Vyas, K. Y. Li, Z. F. Zhou, Y. G. Shen

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23 Citations (Scopus)


CNx/TiN multilayer coatings were deposited onto Si(100) substrates by using the reactive closed-field unbalanced magnetron sputtering method. Different bilayer thicknesses (BT) were attained by varying the substrate rotation speed during the deposition process. The focus of this work was a collective investigation of the bonding states and structure of the multilayer by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), high-angle X-ray diffraction (XRD), and low-angle X-ray scattering (LXRD). The characteristic of the layer was also confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), root-mean-square (RMS) surface roughness by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Chemical states such as TiN, TiO2, and TiC exist in the TiN layer. The CNx layer consisted of C, N and Ti in which N is bonded with C in the forms of C - N and C = N. The RMS surface roughness of the multilayers significantly varied with the substrate rotation speed. The RMS surface roughness was between 0.7 and 1.4 nm. The hardness of CNx/TiN multilayer was highly dependent on their bilayer thickness. This multi-layer structure demonstrated an enhanced microhardness with decreasing bilayer thickness. It is found that for smaller bilayer thicknesses, the microhardness reproducibly achieved is as high as ∼50 GPa. In addition, stress measurement on the CNx/TiN multilayer is also conducted. The internal (compressive) stress is associated with the hardness of the multilayer. For the maximum hardness the stress is found to be ∼7.7 GPa. Moreover, pin-on disc test under dry condition showed low friction coefficient (0.11).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2293-2300
Number of pages8
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2005


  • CN/TiN Multilayer
  • Hardness
  • Internal stress
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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