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Dual ion beam deposited boron-rich boron nitride films

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4 Author(s)
Chan, K.F. ; Department of Applied Physics and Materials Research Center, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China ; Ong, C.W. ; Choy, C.L. ; Kwok, R.W.M.

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BNx films with N content varying from 2 to 40 at. % were deposited by dual ion beam deposition. The films are solid admixtures of a B-rich phase composed of icosahedral atomic clusters, and a graphite-like boron nitride phase. The fraction of the B-rich phase drops, while that of the graphite-like boron nitride phase grows with increasing N content. The hardness of the films first rises, reaches a maximum value of 18.8 GPa at a N content of 20.2 at. %, and falls with further increase in N content. This rise is explained by assuming that some N atoms are located interstitially at the sites surrounded by icosahedral clusters, such that the hardness of the material is enhanced as a result of additional cross-linking of the network by the N atoms. However, the overall N contents are not sufficient to ensure the two phases to have the ideal stoichiometry of B4N and hexagonal BN (h-BN) structures, so that the B-rich phase in the film does not exhibit the theoretical strongest possible cross-linking that has been proposed for the ideal B4N structure. The drop in the hardness of the films with N contents exceeding 20.2 at. % arises from the increasing volume fraction of the graphite-like boron nitride phase. © 1999 American Vacuum Society.

Published in:

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sep 1999

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