• Microstructure, Mechanical and Tribological Properties of Advanced Layered WN/MeN (Me = Zr, Cr, Mo, Nb) Nanocomposite Coatings

    Smyrnova K., Sahul M., Haršáni M., Pogrebnjak A., Ivashchenko V., Beresnev V., Stolbovoy V., Čaplovič L., Čaplovičová M., Vančo L., Kusý M., Kassymbaev A., Satrapinskyy L., Flock D.

    Nanomaterials, 12 (3), art. no. 395


    Due to the increased demands for drilling and cutting tools working at extreme machining conditions, protective coatings are extensively utilized to prolong the tool life and eliminate the need for lubricants. The present work reports on the effect of a second MeN (Me = Zr, Cr, Mo, Nb) layer in WN-based nanocomposite multilayers on microstructure, phase composition, and mechanical and tribological properties. The WN/MoN multilayers have not been studied yet, and cathodic-arc physical vapor deposition (CA-PVD) has been used to fabricate studied coating systems for the first time. Moreover, first-principles calculations were performed to gain more insight into the properties of deposited multilayers. Two types of coating microstructure with different kinds of lattices were observed: (i) face-centered cubic (fcc) on fcc-W2N (WN/CrN and WN/ZrN) and (ii) a combination of hexagonal and fcc on fcc-W2N (WN/MoN and WN/NbN). Among the four studied systems, the WN/NbN had superior properties: the lowest specific wear rate (1.7 × 10−6 mm3/Nm) and high hardness (36 GPa) and plasticity index H/E (0.93). Low surface roughness, high elastic strain to failure, Nb2O5 and WO3 tribofilms forming during sliding, ductile behavior of NbN, and nanocomposite structure contributed to high tribological performance. The results indicated the suitability of WN/NbN as a protective coating operating in challenging conditions. 

  • Combined in Situ Photoluminescence and X-ray Scattering Reveals Defect Formation in Lead-Halide Perovskite Films

    Nada Mrkyvkova*, Vladimír Held, Peter Nádaždy, Riyas Subair, Eva Majkova, Matej Jergel, Aleš Vlk, Martin Ledinsky, Mário Kotlár, Jianjun Tian, Peter Siffalovic

    J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 41, 10156–10162


    Lead-halide perovskites have established a firm foothold in photovoltaics and optoelectronics due to their steadily increasing power conversion efficiencies approaching conventional inorganic single-crystal semiconductors. However, further performance improvement requires reducing defect-assisted, nonradiative recombination of charge carriers in the perovskite layers. A deeper understanding of perovskite formation and associated process control is a prerequisite for effective defect reduction. In this study, we analyze the crystallization kinetics of the lead-halide perovskite MAPbI3–xClx during thermal annealing, employing in situ photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy complemented by lab-based grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS). In situ GIWAXS measurements are used to quantify the transition from a crystalline precursor to the perovskite structure. We show that the nonmonotonous character of PL intensity development reflects the perovskite phase volume, as well as the occurrence of the defects states at the perovskite layer surface and grain boundaries. The combined characterization approach enables easy determination of defect kinetics during perovskite formation in real-time.

  • Structural Breakdown of Natural Epidote and Clinozoisite in High-T and Low-P Conditions and Characterization of Its Products

    Kozáková, P.; Miglierini, M.; Čaplovičová, M.; Škoda, R.; Bačík, P.

    Minerals 202212, 238


    A heat treatment was performed on selected epidote and clinozoisite crystals to establish the nature of any changes in the optical and crystal-chemical properties and to identify a breakdown product using a wide spectrum of analytical methods. Natural samples were heated from 900 to 1200 °C under atmospheric pressure in ambient oxidation conditions for 12 h. Epidote and clinozoisite were stable at 900 °C; those heated at 1000 °C, 1100 °C, and 1200 °C exhibited signs of breakdown, with the development of cracks and fissures. The average chemical composition of epidote is Ca2.000Al2.211Fe0.742Si2.994O12(OH), while that of clinozoisite is Ca2.017A12.626Fe0.319Si3.002O12(OH). The breakdown products identified by electron microanalysis, powder X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy were anorthite, pyroxene compositionally close to esseneite, and wollastonite. The decomposition of the epidote-clinozoisite solid solution is controlled by the following reaction: 4 epidote/clinozoisite → 2 pyroxene + 2 wollastonite + 4 anorthite + 2 H2O. Pyroxene likely contains a significant proportion of tetrahedral Fe3+ as documented by the Mössbauer spectroscopy. Moreover, the presence of hematite in the Mössbauer spectrum of the clinozoisite sample heated at 1200 °C can result from the following reaction: 4 epidote → pyroxene + 3 wollastonite + 4 anorthite + hematite + 2 H2O. 

  • Catalytic graphitization of single-crystal diamond

    SemirTulić, ThomasWaitz, MáriaČaplovičová, GerlindeHabler, ViliamVretenár, TomaSusi, VieraSkákalová

    Carbon, Volume 185, 2021, 300-313


    Diamond and graphene are carbon allotropes with starkly different physical characteristics. Their combination into graphene-on-diamond heterostructures could benefit from the complementary properties of both components. Graphitization of single-crystalline diamond surfaces is a promising synthesis route, but a clear understanding of the growth of graphene or graphite from solid carbon sources is so far missing. Using aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopyRaman spectroscopy, and electrical transport measurements, we provide detailed insight in the mechanisms of structural changes of nickel-catalyzed graphitization of diamond. We propose competing atomistic processes occurring at contact sites of diamond and Ni, depending on diamond surface terminations. One-dimensional etching process dominates on (111) diamond surfaces that remain almost atomically flat during graphitization. Two-dimensional etching of (110) and (100) diamond surfaces results in Ni drilling into the diamond substrate. Our findings also provide evidence on the reaction rates of the catalysis. The most reactive diamond surface in the (100) orientation is covered with the largest amount of well-crystallized graphite, whereas the (111) surface shows the highest stability against catalytic etching. In the latter case, only a thin disordered graphite layer is formed, yielding the lowest electric conductance. By clarifying these etching mechanisms, our results can improve the synthesis of graphene-on-diamond heterostructures.

  • Formation of CuCrCoFeNiO high entropy alloy thin films by rapid thermal processing of Cu/CrNiO/FeCo multilayers

    AnniWanga, Manuel OlivaRamireza, MariaCaplovicovab,ViliamVretenarb, JuliusBoettchera, MarcusHopfelda, ThomasKupsa, DominikFlocka, PeterSchaafa

    Surface and coatings technology, ISSN 0257-8972, 405 (2021), 126563


    This study presents the synthesis of High Entropy Alloy (HEA) films starting from elemental Cu and binary alloy CoFe and CrNiO multilayers, followed by rapid thermal processing (RTP). By that, the HEA films (HEAFs) were formed by phase formation via short-range and fast diffusion processes. Multilayers with a total thickness of 760 nm consisting of 16 repetitions of a Cu (11 nm)/CrNiO (16.5 nm)/CoFe (20 nm) sequence were annealed at temperatures from 600 °C to 1000 °C for 5 min. The reaction products were then analyzed by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) combined with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), in order to identify the phase transformations and elemental distributions. A duplex FCC structure containing CrCoFeNiO HEA and pure Cu phase was successfully synthesized at 600 °C and 800 °C by the solid-state reaction. CuCrCoFeNiO HEA formed within in a Cu nanocrystalline matrix. As the annealing temperature increased, the oxygen content in the films decreased, Both HEA and Cu possess significant 〈111〉 preferred orientation. The HEA phase demonstrated a typical microstructure of alloys with intensive nano-twins. Moreover, the grain growth kinetics of the HEA phase was evaluated, and the activation energy was found to be 185(10) kJ/mol. This is comparable to that of conventional stainless steel (~150 kJ/mol) and less than half of the value for CrCoFeNi bulk (434 kJ/mol). A surface energy-driven grain growth mechanism of the HEAFs via multilayer alloy formation is proposed in this study. The mechanical properties, hardness and Young’s modulus, were measured via nanoindentation, and the strengthening mechanism was proposed and compared with current literature.