Special Issue "Physical Vapor Deposition"

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Surface Characterization, Deposition and Modification".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Klaus Pagh Almtoft
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Tribology Centre, Danish Technological Insitute, Kongsvang Allé 29, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Interests: sputter deposition; Industrial-scale sputtering; PVD coatings; surface enginering; pulsed DC sputtering; HiPIMS; HPPMS; oxides; nitrides; carbides; DLC; tribology; ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD); ion implantation; photocatalysis; X-ray diffraction (XRD, XRR, pole figures); electron microscopy (SEM, TEM); Rutherford backscattering; EDX
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Physical vapor deposition (PVD) is a vacuum deposition method of producing thin films and coatings. In a PVD process, the source material is changed from the solid phase to the vapor phase and then is deposited on a substrate surface, by returning to a condensed phase. The most common PVD processes are evaporation and sputtering with the assistance of various of techniques. PVD technology is applied in applications that require thin films or coatings for mechanical, physical, chemical, optical, and electronic functions. PVD technology is developing with advances in theory and technique, and providing extensive opportunities for advanced thin films and coatings in an expanding area of applications. This Special Issue of Coatings on "Physics Vapor Deposition" is open to all original research and critical reviews on the latest advances on all aspects of PVD.

In particular, the topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • PVD physics and modeling
  • PVD processes, technoques, and equipment
  • PVD coating characterization
  • PVD coating properties, behaviors, and performances
  • PVD coating applications

Dr. Klaus Pagh Almtoft

Guest Editors

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Influence of Substrate Temperature on Electrical and Optical Properties of Hydrogenated Boron Carbide Thin Films Deposited by RF Sputtering
Coatings 2021, 11(2), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11020196 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Amorphous hydrogenated boron carbide films were deposited on silicon and glass substrates using radio frequency sputtering. The substrate temperature was varied from room temperature to 300 °C. The substrate temperature during deposition was found to have significant effects on the electrical and optical [...] Read more.
Amorphous hydrogenated boron carbide films were deposited on silicon and glass substrates using radio frequency sputtering. The substrate temperature was varied from room temperature to 300 °C. The substrate temperature during deposition was found to have significant effects on the electrical and optical properties of the deposited films. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) revealed an increase in sp2-bonded carbon in the films with increasing substrate temperature. Reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS) was performed in order to detect the presence of hydrogen in the films. Metal-insulator-metal (MIM) structure was developed using Al and hydrogenated boron carbide to measure dielectric value and resistivity. Deposited films exhibited lower dielectric values than pure boron carbide films. With higher substrate deposition temperature, a decreasing trend in dielectric value and resistivity of the films was observed. For different substrate temperatures, the dielectric value of films ranged from 6.5–3.5, and optical bandgap values were between 2.25–2.6 eV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Thin Niobium and Niobium Nitride PVD Coatings on AISI 304 Stainless Steel as Bipolar Plates for PEMFCs
Coatings 2020, 10(9), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10090889 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1196
Abstract
In this paper, Nb, NbN, and Nb/NbN thin films were successfully deposited on AISI 304 stainless steel (304 SS) as the bipolar plate (BPP) for proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) by employing a radio-frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering system. Corrosion assessments in simulated PEMFC [...] Read more.
In this paper, Nb, NbN, and Nb/NbN thin films were successfully deposited on AISI 304 stainless steel (304 SS) as the bipolar plate (BPP) for proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) by employing a radio-frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering system. Corrosion assessments in simulated PEMFC operating conditions (1 M H2SO4 + 2 mg/kg HF, 70 °C) revealed that the Nb and NbN coatings significantly improved the corrosion resistance of the 304 SS substrates. The Nb and NbN deposited samples at 350 °C exhibited superior corrosion resistance compared to those coated at 25 °C. Potentiostatic tests were also performed at the constant potentials of +0.644 and −0.056 V vs. Ag/AgCl to simulate the cathodic and anodic PEMFC conditions, respectively. The minimum current densities were recorded for the Nb coating in both anodic and cathodic conditions. Compared with the 304 SS substrate, all coatings showed lower interfacial contact resistance (ICR) and higher hydrophobicity. Among the tested coatings, the Nb coating exhibited the smallest ICR (9 mΩ·cm2 at 140 N/cm2). The results of this investigation revealed that the Nb and NbN coatings deposited by RF magnetron sputtering on 304 SS can be regarded as promising candidates for BPPs in PEMFCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Glancing Angle Deposition and Growth Mechanism of Inclined AlN Nanostructures Using Reactive Magnetron Sputtering
Coatings 2020, 10(8), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10080768 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Glancing angle deposition (GLAD) of AlN nanostructures was performed at room temperature by reactive magnetron sputtering in a mixed gas atmosphere of Ar and N2. The growth behavior of nanostructures shows strong dependence on the total working pressure and angle of [...] Read more.
Glancing angle deposition (GLAD) of AlN nanostructures was performed at room temperature by reactive magnetron sputtering in a mixed gas atmosphere of Ar and N2. The growth behavior of nanostructures shows strong dependence on the total working pressure and angle of incoming flux. In GLAD configuration, the morphology changed from coalesced, vertical nanocolumns with faceted terminations to highly inclined, fan-like, layered nanostructures (up to 38°); while column lengths decreased from around 1743 to 1068 nm with decreasing pressure from 10 to 1.5 mTorr, respectively. This indicates a change in the dominant growth mechanism from ambient flux dependent deposition to directional ballistic shadowing deposition with decreasing working pressures, which is associated with the change of energy and incident angle of incoming reactive species. These results were corroborated using simulation of metal transport (SiMTra) simulations performed at similar working pressures using Ar and N separately, which showed the average particle energy and average angle of incidence decreased while the total average scattering angle of the metal flux arriving at substrate increased with increasing working pressures. Observing the crystalline orientation of GLAD deposited wurtzite AlN nanocolumns using X-ray diffraction (XRD), pole-figure measurements revealed c-axis <0001> growth towards the direction of incoming flux and a transition from fiber-like to biaxial texture took place with increasing working pressures. Under normal deposition conditions, AlN layer morphology changed from {0001} to {101¯1} with increasing working pressure because of kinetic energy-driven growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Effects of Nitrogen Flow Ratio on Structures, Bonding Characteristics, and Mechanical Properties of ZrNx Films
Coatings 2020, 10(5), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10050476 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
ZrNx (x = 0.67–1.38) films were fabricated through direct current magnetron sputtering by a varying nitrogen flow ratio [N2/(Ar + N2)] ranging from 0.4 to 1.0. The structural variation, bonding characteristics, and mechanical properties of the ZrN [...] Read more.
ZrNx (x = 0.67–1.38) films were fabricated through direct current magnetron sputtering by a varying nitrogen flow ratio [N2/(Ar + N2)] ranging from 0.4 to 1.0. The structural variation, bonding characteristics, and mechanical properties of the ZrNx films were investigated. The results indicated that the structure of the films prepared using a nitrogen flow ratio of 0.4 exhibited a crystalline cubic ZrN phase. The phase gradually changed to a mixture of crystalline ZrN and orthorhombic Zr3N4 followed by a Zr3N4 dominant phase as the N2 flow ratio increased up to >0.5 and >0.85, respectively. The bonding characteristics of the ZrNx films comprising Zr–N bonds of ZrN and Zr3N4 compounds were examined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and were well correlated with the structural variation. With the formation of orthorhombic Zr3N4, the nanoindentation hardness and Young’s modulus levels of the ZrNx (x = 0.92–1.38) films exhibited insignificant variations ranging from 18.3 to 19.0 GPa and from 210 to 234 GPa, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Insight into the Release Agents/PVD Coatings Interaction for Plastic Mold Technology
Coatings 2020, 10(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10030281 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
In polymer processing, the formation of undesired fouling hinders the plastic manufacturing processes. Hence, the use of emulsions as releasing agents is mandatory and their affinity to the mold substrates plays a crucial role. Therefore, this research work has been focused on the [...] Read more.
In polymer processing, the formation of undesired fouling hinders the plastic manufacturing processes. Hence, the use of emulsions as releasing agents is mandatory and their affinity to the mold substrates plays a crucial role. Therefore, this research work has been focused on the wetting properties of commercial water-based release agents (namely Marbocote® W2140, EP, EV-333) towards different Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) nitride coatings (AlTiN, NbN, ZrN and TiN), usually adopted in the industrial manufacture of Hydrogenated Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (HNBR). The investigated solid substrates were characterized by means of profilometry, SEM/EDX and Surface Free Energy (SFE) analyses, whereas, tensiometric determinations were acquired on the commercial pure and diluted emulsions. The release agents/mold substrates wettability features were studied by means of the work of adhesion and the spreading coefficient. Finally, nitride-coated mold seals were directly tested in an industrial plant with the most performing release agent in terms of adhesive features; for the first time, a deep correlation between the service life, in terms of number of molded seals, and surface (contact angles, work of adhesion and spreading coefficient)/electrochemical (OCP) features was drawn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Oxidation Behavior of Ta–Al Multilayer Coatings
Coatings 2019, 9(12), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9120810 - 01 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Ta–Al multilayer coatings were fabricated through cyclical gradient concentration deposition by direct current magnetron co-sputtering. The as-deposited coatings presented a multilayer structure in the growth direction. The oxidation behavior of the Ta–Al multilayer coatings was explored. The results specified that Ta-rich Ta–Al multilayer [...] Read more.
Ta–Al multilayer coatings were fabricated through cyclical gradient concentration deposition by direct current magnetron co-sputtering. The as-deposited coatings presented a multilayer structure in the growth direction. The oxidation behavior of the Ta–Al multilayer coatings was explored. The results specified that Ta-rich Ta–Al multilayer coatings demonstrated a restricted oxidation depth after annealing at 600 °C in 1% O2–99% Ar for up to 100 h. This was attributed to the preferential oxidation of Al, the formation of amorphous Al-oxide sublayers, and the maintenance of a multilayer structure. By contrast, Ta2O5 formed after exhausting Al in the oxidation process in an ambient atmosphere at 600 °C which exhibited a crystalline Ta2O5-amorphous Al-oxide multilayer structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
A Parametric Three-Dimensional Phase-Field Study of the Physical Vapor Deposition Process of Metal Thin Films Aiming at Quantitative Simulations
Coatings 2019, 9(10), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9100607 - 25 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
In this paper, a parametric three-dimensional (3D) phase-field study of the physical vapor deposition process of metal thin films was performed aiming at quantitative simulations. The effect of deposition rate and model parameters on the microstructure of deposited thin films was investigated based [...] Read more.
In this paper, a parametric three-dimensional (3D) phase-field study of the physical vapor deposition process of metal thin films was performed aiming at quantitative simulations. The effect of deposition rate and model parameters on the microstructure of deposited thin films was investigated based on more than 200 sets of 3D phase-field simulations, and a quantitative relationship between the deposition rate and model parameters was established. After that, the heat maps corresponding to the experimental atomic force microscopy images were plotted for characterization of the surface roughness. Different roughness parameters including the arithmetic average roughness (Ra), root mean square roughness (Rq), skewness (Rsk), and kurtosis (Rku), as well as the ratio of Rq to Ra were calculated and carefully analyzed. A quantitative relationship between the surface roughness and the deposition rate and model parameters was obtained. Moreover, the calculated Rq to Ra ratios for the thin films at the deposition rates of 0.22 and 1.0 nm s−1 agreed very well with the experimental data of the deposited Mo and Ti thin films. Finally, further discussion about the correlative behaviors between the surface roughness and the density was proposed for reasoning the shadowing effect as well as the formation of voids during the thin film production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Mechanical Properties and Oxidation Behavior of Cr–Si–N Coatings
Coatings 2019, 9(8), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9080528 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
Cr–Si–N coatings were prepared through reactive direct current magneton sputtering using a high N2/Ar flow ratio of 1. The addition of Si to improve the mechanical properties and oxidation resistance of Cr–N coatings was examined. The results indicated that the Cr–Si–N [...] Read more.
Cr–Si–N coatings were prepared through reactive direct current magneton sputtering using a high N2/Ar flow ratio of 1. The addition of Si to improve the mechanical properties and oxidation resistance of Cr–N coatings was examined. The results indicated that the Cr–Si–N coatings with an Si content of <12 at % and an N content of >50 at % exhibited a cubic CrN phase with a columnar structure, whereas the coatings with 14 at % Si comprised of a nanocomposite structure, and the coatings with 16–18 at % Si were near-amorphous. The nanocomposite Cr32Si14N54 coating possessed hardness and Young’s modulus values of 17 and 209 GPa, respectively, accompanied with a hardness to effective Young’s modulus (H/E*) value of 0.077 and an elastic recovery (We) level of 55%—all the properties were highest within the as-deposited coating. The addition of Si was also beneficial to reduce the surface roughness and improve the oxidation resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
The Influence of Surface Treatment of PVD Coating on Its Quality and Wear Resistant
Coatings 2019, 9(7), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9070439 - 13 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1549
Abstract
The article deals with a determination of the influence of a cutting edge preparation on the quality and wear resistance of coated cutting tools. Cutting inserts made from a sintered carbide with a deposited layer of PVD coating were selected for measurement. Non-homogeneity [...] Read more.
The article deals with a determination of the influence of a cutting edge preparation on the quality and wear resistance of coated cutting tools. Cutting inserts made from a sintered carbide with a deposited layer of PVD coating were selected for measurement. Non-homogeneity caused by the creation of droplets arises in the application layer during the process of applying the coating by the PVD method. These droplets make the surface roughness of the PVD coating worse, increase the friction and thereby the thermal load of the cutting tool as well. Also, the droplets could be the cause of the creation and propagation of droplets in the coating and they can cause quick cutting tool wear during machining. Cutting edge preparations were suggested for the improvement of the surface integrity of deposited layers of PVD coating, namely the technology of drag finishing and abrasive jet machining. After their application, the areal surface roughness was measured on the surface of coated cutting inserts, the occurrence of droplets was tracked and the surface structure was explored. A tool-life test of cutting inserts was carried out for verification of the influence of surface treatment on the wear resistance of cutting inserts during the milling process. The cutting inserts with a layer of PVD coatings termed as samples A, B, and C were used for the tool-life test. The first sample, A, represented the coating before the application of cutting edge preparations and samples B and C were after the application of the cutting edge preparation. A carbon steel termed C45 was used for the milling process and cutting conditions were suggested. The visual control of surface of cutting inserts, intensity of wear and occurrence of thermal cracks in deposited PVD layers were the criterion for the evaluation of the individual tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
The Effects of Annealing Temperature on the Structural Properties of ZrB2 Films Deposited via Pulsed DC Magnetron Sputtering
Coatings 2019, 9(4), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9040253 - 16 Apr 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1447
Abstract
Zirconium diboride (ZrB2) thin films were deposited on a Si(100) substrate using pulsed direct current (dc) magnetron sputtering and then annealed in high vacuum. In addition, we discussed the effects of the vacuum annealing temperature in the range of 750 to [...] Read more.
Zirconium diboride (ZrB2) thin films were deposited on a Si(100) substrate using pulsed direct current (dc) magnetron sputtering and then annealed in high vacuum. In addition, we discussed the effects of the vacuum annealing temperature in the range of 750 to 870 °C with flowing N2 on the physical properties of ZrB2 films. The structural properties of ZrB2 films were investigated with X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The XRD patterns indicated that the ZrB2 films annealed at various temperatures exhibited a highly preferred orientation along the [0001] direction and that the residual stress could be relaxed by increasing the annealing temperature at 870 °C in a vacuum. The surface morphology was smooth, and the surface roughness slightly decreased with increasing annealing temperature. Cross-sectional TEM images of the ZrB2/Si(100) film annealed at 870 °C reveals the films were highly oriented in the direction of the c-axis of the Si substrate and the film structure was nearly stoichiometric in composition. The XPS results show the film surfaces slightly contain oxygen, which corresponds to the binding energy of Zr–O. Therefore, the obtained ZrB2 film seems to be quite suitable as a buffer layer for III-nitride growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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Article
Antibacterial Functionalization of PVD Coatings on Ceramics
Coatings 2018, 8(5), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings8050197 - 22 May 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3568
Abstract
The application of surface treatments that incorporate silver or copper as antibacterial elements has become a common practice for a wide variety of medical devices and materials because of their effective activity against nosocomial infections. Ceramic tiles are choice materials for cladding the [...] Read more.
The application of surface treatments that incorporate silver or copper as antibacterial elements has become a common practice for a wide variety of medical devices and materials because of their effective activity against nosocomial infections. Ceramic tiles are choice materials for cladding the floors and walls of operation rooms and other hospital spaces. This study is focused on the deposition of biocide physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings on glazed ceramic tiles. The objective was to provide antibacterial activity to the surfaces without worsening their mechanical properties. Silver and copper-doped chromium nitride (CrN) and titanium nitride (TiN) coatings were deposited on samples of tiles. A complete characterization was carried out in order to determine the composition and structure of the coatings, as well as their topographical and mechanical properties. The distribution of Ag and Cu within the coating was analyzed using glow discharge optical emission spectrometry (GD-OES) and field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). Roughness, microhardness, and scratch resistance were measured for all of the combinations of coatings and dopants, as well as their wettability. Finally, tests of antibacterial efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli were carried out, showing that all of the doped coatings had pronounced biocide activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Vapor Deposition)
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