Growth responses of ultrathin CNx overcoats to process parameters

D. J. Li*, Yip Wah Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ultrathin CNx overcoats were grown using pulsed dc magnetron sputtering. Substrates were mounted on a holder that allowed 45° tilt angle and rotation. Effects of process parameters on film growth were reviewed. AFM scans over large sampling areas show that thin CNx films obtained at - 100 V substrate bias with 45° substrate tilt and 20-25 rpm rotation have r.m.s. roughness about 0.2-0.3 nm when sampled over 20 × 20 μm 2 areas, increasing to ∼ 0.45 nm when sampled over ∼ 0.05 × 3 cm2 using X-ray reflectivity measurements. These 1-2 nm thick ultrasmooth coatings reduced corrosion damage compared with coatings of the same thickness grown without substrate tilt and rotation. This improved performance is likely a result of more efficient and uniform momentum transfer parallel to the surface during deposition in this configuration. In addition, detailed X-ray reflectivity measurements showed that the mass density of these CNx films is ∼ 2.0 g/cm3, independent of film thickness from ∼ 1 to 10 nm, consistent with ion beam analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
StatePublished - May 26 2006


  • Carbon nitride
  • Corrosion
  • Hard disks
  • Sputtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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