Effect of bias voltage on the structural properties of WN/NbN nanolayer coatings deposited by cathodic-arc evaporation

K. Smyrnova, M. Sahul, M. Haršáni, Ľ. Čaplovič, V. Beresnev, Mária Čaplovičová, M. Kusy and A. Pogrebnjak

In: J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 2712 012014, 2024



In this work, WN/NbN nanolaminate coatings were synthesized by cathodic-arc physical vapor deposition (CA-PVD) technique on a stainless-steel substrate. The paper reports the microstructure, cross-sectional morphology, surface roughness, and adhesion strength changes caused by variations in the absolute values of the negative substrate bias voltage, Us, in the 50-200 V range. Synthesized coatings were analyzed by Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GI-XRD), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), and Daimler-Benz test. The phase analysis revealed that multilayer coatings had complex polycrystalline microstructure. They consisted of face-cantered cubic (fcc) β-W2N, fcc δ-NbN, and hexagonal ε-NbN phases. The total thickness and surface roughness had a descending trend with an increase in the absolute value of the negative bias voltage. Moreover, the WN/NbN coating deposited at Us = -50 V demonstrated the best adhesion strength to the substrate, suitable for protective coatings.