Growth Structures and Phase Formation in Industrially Room-Temperature Pulsed Laser Deposited FCC Ti-based Nitride Coatings
The current work focuses on the materials science aspects of the growth phenomena of titanium-based coatings (TiN, (Ti,Al)N and (Ti,Al)(C,N) with face-centered cubic lattice structure, deposited by the industrially-styled Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) technique at room temperature. These coating materials are widely spread in mechanical, tribological and decorative applications due to their exeptional physical and chemical properties. Recently, the trend of using temperature-sensitive materials like polymers and tool steels of the highest hardness demands new low-temperature coating techniques for protective surface finishing as well as for functionalization of the surfaces. These titanium-based compounds can fulfill a wide range of these demands, but up to now there is a lack of industrially designed vacuum coating techniques operating at temperatures lower than 50°C necessary for these materials. The PLD process is known as one of the most promising candidates for such coating demands. But up to now PLD is only a well-established laboratory coating technology and has not become a standard industrial coating technique despite its outstanding process features. The missing of PLD coating systems, which fulfill the requirements for industrial applications like high-rate deposition and adequate sizes of deposition chambers, is considered as one of the main obstacles for a breakthrough of the PLD technique. To overcome this problem an industrially designed PLD coating system has been developed and built at the Laser Center Leoben of JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH.