Hard boronsuboxide-based films deposited in a sputter-sourced, high-density plasma deposition system Academic Article uri icon


  • Boron-suboxide-based thin films have been deposited on Si in an electron cyclotron resonance microwave plasma using a radio frequency (rf) magnetron as a source of boron. Variations of the oxygen fraction in the deposition ambient and of the rf bias applied to the substrate were related to film tribology. The best films have hardnesses of 28 GPa and moduli of 240 GPa and were deposited in oxygen fractions < 1% at substrate temperatures < 350C. The films contain 4%-15% O and 15% C, with carbon originating from the sputter target. They are amorphous and have surface roughnesses of 0.2 nm. Boron-oxide films may form a self-generating lubricating layer of B(OH)3 in ambient atmosphere. Compositional depth profiling of these films reveals an oxygen-enriched surface of 10 nm thickness. Initial nanoscratch test results indicate that these films fail at high critical loads and have low friction coefficients relative to other hard coatings. 1997 American Vacuum Society.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A Vacuum Surfaces and Films

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Doughty, C., Gorbatkin, S. M., Tsui, T. Y., Pharr, G. M., & Medlin, D. L.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Doughty, C||Gorbatkin, SM||Tsui, TY||Pharr, GM||Medlin, DL

publication date

  • September 1997