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Real-time in situ growth study of TiN- and TiCxNy-based superhard nanocomposite coatings using spectroscopic ellipsometry

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5 Author(s)
Jedrzejowski, P. ; Regroupement québecois sur les matériaux de pointe (RQMP) and Department of Engineering Physics, École Polytechnique, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3A7 Canada ; Amassian, A. ; Bousser, E. ; Klemberg-Sapieha, J.E.
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We investigate in situ and in real-time the growth of superhard ternary nanocomposite (nc)-TiN/amorphous (a)-Si3N4 and quaternary nc-TiCxNy/a-SiCN films. Using nondestructive, noncontact spectroscopic ellipsometry and appropriate ellipsometric models, we determine the variation of optical constants, film resistivity, and electron scattering time and mean free path as a function of thickness and particle size. Based on the optical and electrical behavior, we propose a microstructural model of superhard nanocomposite films, postulating the interconnectivity between individual nanoparticles, presence of defects in the individual grains, and particle size varying in the initial stage of the film growth.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:88 ,  Issue: 7 )