Composition, structure and tribological properties of amorphous carbon nitride coatings

Dong Li, Eric Cutiongco, Yip Wah Chung*, Ming Show Wong, William D. Sproul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Carbon nitride thin films were synthesized using d.c. unbalanced magnetron sputtering of a high-purity graphite target in a nitrogen-containing plasma onto various substrates held at ambient temperatures. The N/C ratio was found to vary from zero to 0.8 depending on deposition conditions. There was evidence of multiple bonding states for carbon and nitrogen (sp, sp2 and sp3), and the bulk of the film was found to be amorphous. Nanoindentation studies showed that under appropriate substrate bias conditions the carbon nitride coating hardness can be enhanced to levels well above that of conventional amorphous hard carbon coatings. CNx coatings replicate the substrate topography, giving rise to surface roughness equal to or better than the original substrates. Lubricated tribotesting showed the relationship between wear performance and deposition conditions. Under pure sliding in air, the CNx coating provided a 30-fold reduction in wear rate for M2 steels (compared with uncoated M2) under our testing conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-615
Number of pages5
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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