In this study multi-component (AlCrTaTiZr)Nx
high-entropy coatings were developed by co-sputtering of AlCrTaTiZr alloy and Si in an Ar/N2
mixed atmosphere with the application of different substrate biases and Si-target powers. Their nanomechanical properties and deformation behaviors were characterized by nanoindentation tests. Because of the effect of high mixing entropies, all the deposited multi-component (AlCrTaTiZr)Nx
high-entropy coatings exhibited a simple face-centered cubic solid-solution structure. With an increased substrate bias and Si-target power, their microstructures changed from large columns with a  preferred orientation to a nanocomposite form with ultrafine grains. The hardness, H/E ratio and H3
ratio of (AlCrTaTiZr)N1.07
coating reached 30.2 GPa, 0.12 and 0.41 GPa, respectively, suggesting markedly suppressed dislocation activities and a very high resistance to wear and plastic deformation, attributable to grain refinements and film densification by the application of substrate bias, a nanocomposite structure by the introduction of silicon nitrides, and a strengthening effect induced by severe lattice distortions. In the deformed regions under indents, stacking faults or partial dislocations were formed, while in the stress-released regions, near-perfect lattices recovered.