Chemical structure and micro-mechanical properties of ultra-thin films of boron carbide prepared by pulsed-laser deposition

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Physics and Astronomy


Ultra-thin boron carbide films with a thickness of about 40 nm were deposited on silicon substrates by means of pulsed-laser ablation of a sintered B4C target in vacuum. Together with the determination of the film composition by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and the observation of the surface topography by atomic force microscopy (AFM), the chemical structure of the films was studied by Fourier transform infrared ( FTIR) spectroscopy. Mechanical characterization of the films was performed on the micron and sub-micron scales by means of nano-indentation and micro-scratch tests, from which the hardness, Young's modulus and micro mar resistance of the films were determined. The optimal values were obtained for the films prepared at elevated temperature of 600degreesC, with hardness of 39 GPa, Young's modulus of 348 GPa and micro mar resistance (MMR) of 5.0x10(3) GPa; in comparison with those of 23, 252, and 7.1x10(2) GPa, respectively, for the. lms prepared at room temperature.

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