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The study on the effect of erbium on diamond-like carbon deposited by pulsed laser deposition technique

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4 Author(s)
Foong, Y.M. ; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117574, Singapore ; Hsieh, J. ; Li, X. ; Chua, D.H.C.

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Diamond-like carbon (DLC) films doped with a small fraction of erbium (0.5–2.0 at. %, at 0.5 at. % interval) were prepared by using a 248 nm KrF pulsed laser deposition technique. The effects of erbium on the surface morphology, microstructure, chemical binding states, tribological property, and the adhesion strength of DLC films were investigated. Atomic force microscopy showed that the surface roughness of the films increased with the increasing of erbium fraction, but generally the nanocomposite films were smooth with rms below 1 nm. Raman analysis showed broad peaks centered at 1550 cm-1 on all the samples. The deconvoluted Raman spectra on DLC doped with different fractions of erbium showed that the ID/IG ratio increased with increasing erbium content, and the comparative percent of sp3 is between 50% and 58% for erbium fraction between 0.5 and 2.0 at. %. High resolution x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirmed that the C 1s peaks had slightly shifted away from 285.2 (diamond) to 284.5 eV (graphite). The deconvolution of the spectra further confirmed the influence of erbium to the sp3 contents and revealed the presence of SiC with the increasing of Er fraction. Microscratch tester results showed that the adhesion strength (critical load) of the films improved with the presence of SiC bonding at the interface. This hinted that the presence of the heavier erbium may force the impinging carbon ions to react more with the interface to form silicon carbide bonds, thus enhancing the adhesion strength. Although the presence of erbium increased the surface roughness of the films, the coefficients of friction of the erbium doped DLC films were still closely resembled to pure DLC, i.e., 0.11–0.12 compared to 0.10 for pure DLC.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:106 ,  Issue: 6 )