Mechanical and microstructural changes of magnetron sputtered TiN films with various magnetic field configurations
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TiN coatings were deposited in a single magnetron sputter ion plating system in balanced and unbalanced mode with a closed magnetic field configuration. The film microhardness, thickness, adhesion, microstructure, preferred orientation and topography were analyzed as a function of the substrate position inside the deposition volume. In the static deposition mode and under the limitations of the experimental set-up used, no real homogeneous deposition conditions were achieved, but a significant possibility of controlling the spatial distribution of deposition conditions was demonstrated. The variation of the coating microhardness over the target-to-substrate distance, d(S-T), ranging from about 80 to 210 mm was acceptable for practical applications, while the critical load for adhesive failure was found to decrease significantly with increasing d(S-T) in a balanced magnetron configuration. The variation of magnetic field configuration provided a relatively homogeneous distribution of th...e bias current density over the deposition volume, but the preferred orientation of the coating was changed from (200) to (111) with increasing d(S-T). The energy delivered per unit volume of growing film, S-E, and bombarding ion to deposited metal atom flux ratio j(i)/j(m) were considered. It was found that j(i)/j(m) can be used to describe qualitatively the change of preferred crystalline orientation of coatings. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science S.A.