Thermal plasma chemical vapor deposition of superhard nanostructured Si-C-N coatings

Nicole J. Wagner, Megan J. Cordill, Lenka Zajickova, William W Gerberich, Joachim V.R. Heberlein

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A triple torch plasma reactor was used to synthesize Si-C-N composite films via the thermal plasma chemical vapor deposition process. The argon-nitrogen plasma provided atomic nitrogen to carbon- and silicon-based reactants, which were injected through a central injection probe and ring configuration. Films were deposited with variations of the total nitrogen flow through the torches (1.5-4.5slm), reactant mixture (silicon tetrachloride and acetylene or hexamethyldisilazane) and substrate material (silicon and molybdenum). Micro X-ray diffraction was used to determine that both α-Si3N4 and β-Si3N4 were dominant in most of the depositions. Composites of silicon nitride and silicon carbide were synthesized on molybdenum. The bonding of amorphous phases was investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, which indicated the presence of N-H, CHx and C≡=N in various films. Indentation tests on the polished film cross-sections determined that large variations in hardness and elastic modulus existed for minor changes in film composition. Correlations between indentation results and scanning electron and optical microscope images showed that the mechanical properties greatly depend on the film morphology; the denser, smoother, and more crystalline films tended to display enhanced mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberO3.10/BB2.10
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event2005 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 28 2005Apr 1 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal plasma chemical vapor deposition of superhard nanostructured Si-C-N coatings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this