RF deposition of soft hydrogenated amorphous carbon coatings for adhesive interfaces on highly elastic polymer materials
Publication from Materials
Surf. Coat. Tech. 203 (16), pp. 2243-2248, 2009
Developing soft and elastic coating materials is one of the future challenges in research on new coating materials for vacuum deposition processes. This development direction is in its infancy and fully contrary to the thin
film research mainstream. Such coatings – tailor-made with gradients in hardness and elastic modulus – could work as adhesive and load-supporting layers on polymers bridging the properties from soft substrate to the stiff, wear-resistant hard top coating. In this work we used the approach of a chemical vapour deposition process with plasma assistance from an unbalanced RF (13.56 MHz) powered magnetron sputtering cathode in planar parallel plate arrangement. The characterization of the amorphous hydrogenated and polymer-like carbon films showed a high influence of the used precursor gas (acetylene, butane) on hardness and elasticity. The elastic moduli were found to be between 2 and 35 GPa for the fully amorphous films with a-C:H structure. Specific growth structures were found in HR-TEM imaging of the amorphous coatings. All coatings adhere strongly on a rubber-like polymer (thermoplastic polyurethane).