Me-Si-C (Me= Nb, Ti or Zr) : Nanocomposite and Amorphous Thin Films

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates thin films of the transition metal carbide systems Ti-Si-C, Nb-Si-C, and Zr-Si-C, deposited at a low substrate temperature (350 °C) with dc magnetron sputtering in an Ar discharge. Both the electrical and mechanical properties of these systems are highly affected by their structure. For Nb-Si-C, both the ternary Nb-Si-C and the binary Nb-C are studied. I show pure NbC films to consist of crystalline NbC grains embedded in a matrix of amorphous carbon. The best combination of hardness and electrical resistivity are for ~15 at.% a-C phase. The properties of nc-NbC/a-C are similar to films consisting of nc-TiC/a-C. I further show that in a model system of epitaxial TiCx (x ~0.7) up to 5 at.% Si can be incorporated. At higher Si content, Si starts segregate out from the TiCx to the grain boundaries causing a loss of epitaxy. Higher amounts of Si into the Nb-Si-C and Zr-Si-C systems make them become amorphous. These amorphous structures are unstable under electron irradiation were they crystallize. I show that the cause of crystallization is driven by atomic displacement events.