Friday, March 1, 2019

The hardest, thinnest, most wear-resistant coatings yet by PEALD titanium and vanadium nitrides

[Lehigh University, Story by Christine Fennessy, shortened] In August 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) granted Strandwitz, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and Krick, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, a Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) award to work with an industry partner to study what exactly makes these nitride films so good.

Low temps, conformality, and precision yield a diamond-like toughness

Titanium and vanadium nitride films are already known to be extremely hard and wear resistant. Traditionally, they’re grown by sputtering, pulsed laser deposition, or chemical vapor deposition methods. In a first, the group’s collaborators at Veeco/CNT grew their nitride films using plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition, or PE-ALD. Veeco/CNT is a leading supplier of ALD systems based in Waltham, Massachusetts. 

“In atomic layer deposition, you’re building one layer of atoms at a time,” says Strandwitz. “It’s a technique that’s already used in microelectronics, like on those in your phone, where you might need a film that is exactly three nanometers thick. If the film is four, or two, nanometers thick, your transistor switch won’t work. And you have a few billion transistors in your phone.”
Source: Lehigh University (LINK

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