Engineering properties of superhard films with ion energy and
Recent developments in plasma synthesis of hard materials using energetic ions are described. Metal Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation and Deposition (MePIIID) has been used to prepare several hard films: from diamondlike carbon (DLC) to carbides, from nitrides to oxides. The energy of the depositing species is controlled to maximize adhesion as well as to change the physical and chemical properties of the films. Adhesion is promoted by the creation of a graded interface between the film and the substrate. The energy of the depositing ions is also used to modify and control the intrinsic stresses and the microstructure of the films. The deposition is carried out at room temperature, which is important for temperature sensitive substrates. A correlation between intrinsic stresses and the energetics of the deposition is presented for the case of DLC films, and means to reduce stress levels are discussed.