Synthesis and Characterisation of Magnetron Sputtered Alumina-Zirconia Thin Films
Sammanfattning: Alumina-Zirconia thin films were grown on a range of substrates using dual magnetron sputtering. Film growth was achieved at a relatively low temperature of 450 °C and at higher temperatures up to 810 °C. The films were grown on well-defined surfaces such as silicon (100) but also on industrially relevant substrates such as hardmetal (WC-Co). Radio frequency power supplies were used in combination with magnetron sputtering to avoid problems with target arcing. A range of film compositions were possible by varying the power on each target. The influence of sputtering target were investigated, both ceramic oxide targets and metallic targets being used.The phase composition of the as-deposited films was investigated by x-ray diffraction. The pure zirconia films contained the monoclinic zirconia phase, while the pure alumina films appeared either amorphous or contained the gamma-alumina phase. The composite films contained a mixture of amorphous alumina, gamma-alumina and the cubic zirconia phase. In-depth high-resolution electron microscopy studies revealed that the microstructures consisted of phase-separated alumina and zirconia nanocrystals in the case of the nanocomposites. In-situ spectroscopy was also performed to characterise the nature of the bonding within the as-deposited films.The oxygen stoichiometry in the films was investigated as a possible reason for the stabilisation of the cubic zirconia phase in the nanocomposite. Ion beam techniques such as Rutherford backscattering scattering and electron recoil detection analysis were used in these studies. The growth of films with ceramic targets led to films that may be slightly understoichiometric in oxygen, causing the phase stabilisation. The growth of films from metallic targets necessitates oxygen rich plasmas and it is not expected that such films will be oxygen deficient.Initial attempts were also made to characterise the mechanical properties of the new material with nanoindentation. The nanocomposite appeared to have greater resistance to wear than the pure zirconia film. In doing so, some surface interactions and some material interactions have been studied.
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