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Design of microstructure for optimum performances of DLC-based nanocomposite coatings

PhD student: Kalpak Shaha
Postdocs: Dr. ChangQiang Chen
Nano-structured coatings have recently attracted increasing interest because of the possibilities of synthesizing a surface protecting layer with unique physical-chemical properties that are often not attained in the bulk counterpart. On top of this, amorphous DLC-based nano-composite coatings exhibit not only excellent wear resistance and super-hardness but also low friction, which provide a solution to the stringent requirements on drive-line components in automotive industry such as prolonging the life in operation of the components and increasing the efficiency of the engines by reduction of friction. Within the framework of a novel experimental approach to the design and control of wear resistant nanocomposite coatings, the project is aimed at scrutinizing the deposition window of pulsed sputtering, optimization of nano-/micro-structure and tribo-chemistry in relation to the performances of DLC-based nanocomposite coatings. The project is in particular linked to the recently installed closed-field unbalanced magnetron sputtering system (Teer UDP 4/350).

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Figure: Surface RMS roughness of TiC/a-C films as a function of deposition time and p-DC frequency. The evolution of the multilayered structure clearly reveals that the increased roughness during 100 kHz p-DC sputtering was smoothened out by the following 350 kHz p-DC sputtering.