Hardness, internal stress and thermal stability of TiB2/TiC multilayer coatings synthesized by magnetron sputtering with and without substrate rotation

Kitty W. Lee, Yu Hsia Chen, Yip Wah Chung*, Leon M. Keer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


TiB2/TiC multilayer coatings were synthesized in a dual-cathode, non-reactive, unbalanced magnetron sputtering system with stationary and rotating substrates. All coatings are polycrystalline with TiB2(001) preferred orientation and have a multilayer structure. Coatings synthesized with stationary substrates have high compressive stress (4-7 GPa), and their hardness is slightly enhanced (∼25%) over the rule-of-mixture value. Coatings grown with substrate rotation have much lower compressive stress (<2 GPa) and high hardness (>60 GPa). Substrate rotation appears to improve mobility of surface species and allows more time for surface diffusion, thus resulting in denser films with lower void concentration. This may explain the substantial difference in hardness enhancement between these two cases. After being annealed in an inert environment (vacuum or argon) at 1273 K for 1 h, these multilayer coatings retain their layer structure. Moreover, most coatings have improved crystallinity and increased room-temperature hardness after such annealing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
StatePublished - Jan 30 2004


  • Hardness
  • Internal stress
  • Sputtering
  • Substrate rotation
  • Thermal stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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