Enhanced hardness in lattice-matched single-crystal TiN/V 0.6Nb0.4N superlattices

P. B. Mirkarimi*, L. Hultman, S. A. Barnett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Single-crystal TiN/V0.6Nb0.4N superlattice films were deposited on MgO(100) substrates using ultrahigh vacuum reactive sputtering from two magnetron sources with a computer-controlled shutter. X-ray diffractometer measurements showed first- and second-order superlattice peaks while electron diffraction showed up to seventh-order superlattice reflections. Direct observations using cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy showed that the superlattices had flat, abrupt interfaces, but contained threading dislocations. Microhardness values for the superlattices ranged from to 3100 to 4100 kg/mm2, depending on the superlattice period (λ), compared with 1500 for an alloy with equal average composition. The hardness values for these lattice-matched superlattices agreed with those previously reported for TiN/VN superlattices with a lattice mismatch of 2.4%, although the hardness peak was less pronounced. The present results indicate that coherency strains do not play the major role in enhancing the hardness of these nitride superlattices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2654-2656
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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