Sputtering of Crystalline ZrN Thin Films on Unheated Substrates for Decorative coating Applications
Keywords:Zirconium nitride thin film, Sputtering, Lightness, Decorative
The zirconium nitride (ZrN) thin films were successfully deposited by the DC reactive magnetron sputtering without heat treatment for the hard-coating applications. The ZrN thin films were carefully prepared at 200 nm under different operating pressures. The obtained films were systematically analyzed for physical, electrical, and optical properties, and discussed to the operating pressures. For the crystal structures, the XRD results indicated that most ZrN films were cubic close-packed structure with (111) and (220) orientations. Only the film prepared at the smallest operating pressure showed three phases of (111), (200), and (220) according to the localized heating from high atomic energy. For the film morphologies, the FE-SEM results demonstrated the increase of densely packed structure and the decrease of the surface roughness for the films prepared at low operating pressures. The film resistivity was found closely related to the electron scattering in the grain boundaries, as well as with the thin-film brightness. The optical properties of the films were determined from the reflection, lightness, and yellowness, as observed in the CIE chromaticity diagrams.
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