Effect of Cu Content on TiN-Cu Nanocomposite Film Properties: Structural and Hardness Studies

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Radiation application Research School, Nuclear Science &Technology Research Institute (NSTRI), Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Karaj, Iran

2 Department of physics, Kashan University, Kashan, Iran



Titanium nitride-Copper (TiN-Cu) nanocomposite films were deposited onto stainless steel substrate using hollow cathode discharge ion plating technique. The influence of Cu content in the range of 2-7 at.% on the microstructure, morphology and mechanical properties of deposited films were investigated. Structural properties of the films were studied by X-ray diffraction pattern. Topography of the deposited films was studied using atomic force microscopy. Film hardness was estimated by a triboscope nanoindentation system. However, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis was performed to study the surface chemical bonding states. It was found that addition of soft Cu phase above 2 at.% to TiN film drastically decreased the film hardness from 30 to 2.8 Gpa due to lubricant effect of segregated copper particles. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results showed that Cu and TiN phases grew separately. In our case,the formation of a solid solution or chemical bonding between Cu and Ti was rejected.


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