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Crystals 2017, 7(12), 369; doi:10.3390/cryst7120369

Vickers Hardness of Diamond and cBN Single Crystals: AFM Approach

1
Institute for Superhard Materials of NASU, 2 Avtozavodskaya Str., 04074 Kyiv, Ukraine
2
Institute of Semiconductor Physics of NASU, 41 Nauky Pr., 03028 Kyiv, Ukraine
3
National Institute for Materials Sciences, 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ronald W. Armstrong, Stephen M. Walley and Wayne L. Elban
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystal Indentation Hardness)
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Abstract

Atomic force microscopy in different operation modes (topography, derivative topography, and phase contrast) was used to obtain 3D images of Vickers indents on the surface of diamond and cBN single crystals with high spatial resolution. Confocal Raman spectroscopy and Kelvin probe force microscopy were used to study the structure of the material in the indents. It was found that Vickers indents in diamond has no sharp and clear borders. However, the phase contrast operation mode of the AFM reveals a new viscoelastic phase in the indent in diamond. Raman spectroscopy and Kelvin probe force microscopy revealed that the new phase in the indent is disordered graphite, which was formed due to the pressure-induced phase transformation in the diamond during the hardness test. The projected contact area of the graphite layer in the indent allows us to measure the Vickers hardness of type-Ib synthetic diamond. In contrast to diamond, very high plasticity was observed for 0.5 N load indents on the (001) cBN single crystal face. Radial and ring cracks were absent, the shape of the indents was close to a square, and there were linear details in the indent, which looked like slip lines. The Vickers hardness of the (111) synthetic diamond and (111) and (001) cBN single crystals were determined using the AFM images and with account for the elastic deformation of the diamond Vickers indenter during the tests. View Full-Text
Keywords: Vickers hardness; diamond; cBN; atomic force microscopy; Raman spectroscopy Vickers hardness; diamond; cBN; atomic force microscopy; Raman spectroscopy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Dub, S.; Lytvyn, P.; Strelchuk, V.; Nikolenko, A.; Stubrov, Y.; Petrusha, I.; Taniguchi, T.; Ivakhnenko, S. Vickers Hardness of Diamond and cBN Single Crystals: AFM Approach. Crystals 2017, 7, 369.

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