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The influence of nanoeffects on the oxidation of magnetron sputtered Cr-C/Ag thin films containing silver nanoparticles
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry. Impact Coatings AB, Westmansgatan 29, SE-58216 Linkoping, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5516-6388
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
2017 (English)In: Chemelectrochem, ISSN 2196-0216, Vol. 4, no 2, 418-429 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Well-controlled functionalization of carbide-based nanocomposite films with noble-metal surface nanoparticles of different sizes may lead to new materials with novel multifunctional properties. In this work, magnetron sputtering was used to deposit nanocomposite films comprising amorphous chromium carbide (a-CrCx), amorphous carbon (a-C), and a minority of silver in the form of embedded nanoclusters. Up to 510(10) surface nanoparticles per cm(2) with different size distributions were also found to be formed, owing to the diffusion of silver from the bulk of the film. The influences of these conductive nanoparticles on the electrochemical behavior of the films were investigated in dilute sulfuric acid. Although silver is a noble metal, the oxidation potential of the nanoparticles was about 0.4V more negative than the Ag+/Ag standard potential, meaning that the nanoparticles were oxidized in the Cr passive potential region. While this effect can mainly be explained by a low concentration of Ag+ in the electrolyte, the sizes of the nanoparticles and interactions with the matrix were also found to be important. Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to analyze the surface chemistries. As Ag can be replaced by other noble metals, the concept is of general interest for further studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 4, no 2, 418-429 p.
Keyword [en]
Nanoelectrochemistry, Noble metals, Carbides, Nanoparticles, Thin films
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302060DOI: 10.1002/celc.201600615ISI: 000394905900026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-302060DiVA: diva2:956178
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-08-29 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2017-04-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Magnetron Sputtering of Nanocomposite Carbide Coatings for Electrical Contacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Magnetron Sputtering of Nanocomposite Carbide Coatings for Electrical Contacts
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today’s electronic society relies on the functionality of electrical contacts. To achieve good contact properties, surface coatings are normally applied. Such coatings should ideally fulfill a combination of different properties, like high electrical conductivity, high corrosion resistance, high wear resistance and low cost. A common coating strategy is to use noble metals since these do not form insulating surface oxides. However, such coatings are expensive, have poor wear resistance and they are often applied by electroplating, which poses environmental and human health hazards.

In this thesis, nanocomposite carbide-based coatings were studied and the aim was to evaluate if they could exhibit properties that were suitable for electrical contacts. Coatings in the Cr-C, Cr-C-Ag and Nb-C systems were deposited by magnetron sputtering using research-based equipment as well as industrial-based equipment designed for high-volume production. To achieve the aim, the microstructure and composition of the coatings were characterized, whereas mechanical, tribological, electrical, electrochemical and optical properties were evaluated. A method to optically measure the amount of carbon was developed.

In the Cr-C system, a variety of deposition conditions were explored and amorphous carbide/amorphous carbon (a-C) nanocomposite coatings could be obtained at substrate temperatures up to 500 °C. The amount of a-C was highly dependent on the total carbon content. By co-sputtering with Ag, coatings comprising an amorphous carbide/carbon matrix, with embedded Ag nanoclusters, were obtained. Large numbers of Ag nanoparticles were also found on the surfaces. In the Nb-C system, nanocrystalline carbide/a-C coatings could be deposited. It was found that the nanocomposite coatings formed very thin passive films, consisting of both oxide and a-C.

The Cr-C coatings exhibited low hardness and low-friction properties. In electrochemical experiments, the Cr-C coatings exhibited high oxidation resistance. For the Cr-C-Ag coatings, the Ag nanoparticles oxidized at much lower potentials than bulk Ag. Overall, electrical contact resistances for optimized samples were close to noble metal references at low contact load. Thus, the studied coatings were found to have properties that make them suitable for electrical contact applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 74 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1417
Keyword
transition metal carbide, amorphous carbon, composite, contact resistance, corrosion, friction, optical properties
National Category
Materials Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Ceramics Nano Technology Composite Science and Engineering Corrosion Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302063 (URN)978-91-554-9676-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-14, Häggsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-22 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2016-10-11

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