A home-made straight-duct filter cathodic vacuum arc system was used to synthesize tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) films. The ta-C films were fabricated using both direct-current cathodic arc evaporation (DC-CAE) and pulse-enhanced cathodic arc evaporation. A series of films were prepared as a function of pulse current ranging from 500 to 1000 A compared with 80 A direct current. The introduction of pulse current could markedly increase instantaneous input power (Wiip). The pulse-enhanced Wiip led to the increase in average substrate current from 0.46 to 1.07 A. Moreover, compared with DC-CAE, the pulse current of 1000 A significantly increased the intensity ratios of C II/(C I + C II) and C II/Ar II by about 65% and 130%, respectively. All the results showed that the pulse-enhanced Wiip substantially improved the evaporation and ionization rate of graphite. However, due to thermal-induced graphitization conversion, the threshold pulse current was 800 A. Under this pulse current, the film exhibited the smallest ID/IG (0.26) as well as the highest sp3 fraction (64.3%). Correspondingly, the highest hardness (≈40 GPa) and the preferable toughness (H/E* of 0.12 and H3/E*2 of 0.52) were simultaneously achieved.
Enhancement of discharge and mechanical properties of ta-C films by pulse-enhanced cathodic arc deposition
Benfu Wang, Xiubo Tian, Jian Hu, Chunzhi Gong, Xiangli Liu, Jin Li; Enhancement of discharge and mechanical properties of ta-C films by pulse-enhanced cathodic arc deposition. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 12 May 2023; 41 (3): 033003. https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0002352
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