V. Simova, O. Zabeida, L.B. Varela Jimenez, E. Bousser, J.E. Klemberg-Sapieha and L. Martinu
Department of Engineering Physics, Polytechnique Montreal,
Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
Rotating cylindrical magnetrons are suitable for operation at high power densities due to efficient cooling, leading to higher deposition rates compared to planar magnetrons. In addition, they also possess a higher target material usage efficiency. However, their application for the fabrication of protective coatings is still rather limited. In the present work, we study the effect of plasma pulse characteristics, including pulsed DC and HiPIMS conditions, on the fabrication and characteristics of Ti1−xAlxN with x = 0.5 as model hard coatings for the protection against harsh environments such as those seen in aerospace and manufacturing. Specifically, we assess the relationship between the discharge parameters (including pulse frequency, duty cycle) and the growth, microstructure, residual stress and the mechanical and tribological properties. In addition, optical emission spectroscopy (OES) was used for in situ real-time plasma monitoring. We found that the substrate bias can also be used to selectively tune the mechanical properties (H up to 30 GPa) and the residual stress profile (σ up to -5.5 GPa), while the stoichiometry can be controlled by varying the duty cycle in combination with OES monitoring.