Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

TankThin-film structures and plasma surface engineering

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.09.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Electronic components and technologies   
2.04.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology   

Code Science Field
T155  Technological sciences  Coatings and surface treatment 
surfaces, thin-film structures, hard coatings, quasicrystals, plasma, plasma characterization, catalytic probes, composites, polymers, interfaces, diffusion, AES depth profiling, XPS
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (12)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22289  PhD Uroš Cvelbar  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
2.  18271  PhD Miha Čekada  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
3.  26476  PhD Aleksander Drenik  Electronic components and technologies  Junior researcher  2006 - 2008 
4.  15601  Jožko Fišer    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
5.  12616  PhD Darinka Kek Merl  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
6.  15703  PhD Janez Kovač  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
7.  15602  Damjan Matelič    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
8.  10429  PhD Miran Mozetič  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
9.  09090  PhD Peter Panjan  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
10.  17622  Janez Trtnik    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
11.  20048  PhD Alenka Vesel  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2004 - 2008 
12.  01741  PhD Anton Zalar  Electronic components and technologies  Head  2004 - 2008 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  18 
Advanced thin-film structures, composite materials and plasma treated surfaces are based on progress in thin-films and surface science. Reactive oxygen plasmas will be studied by optical spectrometry and catalytic probes in order to understand interaction of plasma radicals with solid surfaces of polymers and composities. Oxygen plasmas wil be applied to advanced technological processing including selective plasma etching, discharge cleaning, cold ashing, and plasma sterilization. The physical and tribological properties of new generation of surface coatings (nanocomposite, multilayer/superlattice, carbon and metal containing carbon coatings)for wear protection and friction reduction will be studied. The application of such coatings for protection of tools for dry, hard and hot working machining as well as for machining of composites will be tested. The plasma processes during deposition of hard coatings will be studied by mass and energy-resolved spectroscopy. Plasma surface engineering will be applied to replace to conventional electrochemical deposition techniques which are ecological unacceptable. Plasma vapour deposition processes will be used also for deposition of quasicrystal thin films and electrolyte thin films for solid oxide fuel cells. The accurate characterization of surfaces, interfaces and depth profiles will be achieved by high resolution AES depth profilng using two ion beams and/or sample rotation technique, low ion beam energy and grazing ion incidence angle. The composition, crystalline structure and surface topography of plasma treated surfaces and thi-film structures will be investigated by relevant methods such as AES, XPS, SPEM, SEM, TEM, XRD, EXAFS and AFM. The results of the program are in particular foreseen to find their use in the fields of surface and plasma science, coatings technology and surface engineering.
Significance for science
Scientific results on generation and characterization of highly reactive cold gaseous plasma represent an important contribution to the plasma physics and chemistry. A handful of catalytic probes have been developed and applied for precise measuring of the density of neutral atoms in plasma created in hydrogen, oxygen, water vapour and nitrogen. The probes were used for characterization of plasma created in different discharges situated at different laboratories worldwide. Comparison with alternative techniques such as titration and TALIF revealed an important advantage of the probes over other known techniques: it allows for real time measurements and thus detection of density variations during plasma processing of solid materials. The ability of measuring the atom densities during plasma processing allows for a breakthrough in understanding the plasma - sample interaction when applying plasma for etching, sterilization, ashing, functionalization, etc of various materials including biomedical and nanomaterials. To the best of our knowledge, few authors have ever attempted to describe the interaction mechanism as a function of the flux of neutral atoms on the sample. With our probes we can always quantify the results. Not, surprisingly, tens of scientific papers on this subject have been published in prominent journals. Surfaces coated with PVD hard coatings are never perfect. Besides grooves and ridges the surface also displays pronounced conical features, pin-holes, pores and other open voids which form during deposition process. In order to improve the tribological properties of PVD hard coatings it is important to minimize the surface concentration of defects. We used different analytical techniques (focused ion beam in combination with SEM, 3D-profilometry, AFM) for defect analysis. We found which deposition parameters have the most important influence on defect density. Up-today development in the area of tool protection is directed towards deposition of very compact, smooth, nanolayer and nanocomposite hard PVD coatings. Magnetron sputtering is the most universal procedure for deposition of hard coatings, because it enables the preparation of a wide spectrum of coatings on substrates with a complicated geometry. The main disadvantage of magnetron sputtering is low ionization rate of sputtered target atoms, which causes the coating to grow in a columnar microstructure that has a negative influence on tribological properties of the coatings. The essence of a novel sputtering process which is based on high power pulsed magnetron sputtering (HPPMS) is in enhanced ionization rate of particles during deposition. We used this technique for deposition of TiAlN and CrN hard coatings. The goal of our investigations was to find the influence of deposition parameters on structural, microstructural and tribological properties of selected coatings. Our measurements of ion sputtering rates and sputtering coefficients on different carbides and other materials showed that the sputtering rates are strongly angle dependent. Unexpectedly we found that the sputtering yield of carbon at larger ion incidence angles is comparable with sputtering yields of metals. Our results in this field will allow more accurate analyses of multicomponent thin-layered structures, particularly those based on carbide compounds. In collaboration with other European partners we developed, tested and used a new type of high-resolution x-ray microscope Twinmic installed at synchrotron light source Elettra in Trieste. The Twinmic microscope operates in different imaging modes with resolution of 120 nm, it uses novel contrast techniques and it is the first such microscope in the world. Twinmic microscope will provide new data on internal structures and local inhomogeneity in thin-film structures and other organic and composite materials.
Significance for the country
The knowledge on plasma generation and ability for detailed characterization of plasma parameters allow for development of different plasma technologies for our industrial partners from Slovenia. The technologies developed in the past 5 years include selective plasma etching of microcomposites, plasma functionalization of biocompatible materials and discharge cleaning of various materials. Since original solutions have been used the technologies have been protected by patent applications worldwide. Some patents have been already granted and allow for commercial exploitation of our results. Since all technologies developed by our programme team are benign to environment, the Slovenian society benefit from replacement of unfriendly wet chemical processing with ecological benign ones and thus we contribute to preservation of the environment. Hard protective coatings and tooling industry in general are distinguished by high added value. At present they are one of the most competitive parts of Slovenian industry on the world market, which they will remain only if there is enough scientific support to solve recent technological problems. This support has been given for over three decades by researchers from our group. At Hard coatings centre which operates within the Department for thin films and surfaces at Jožef Stefan Institute we are developing new hard PVD coatings and implementing them in industrial production. New knowledge about the ion sputtering rates and sputtering coefficients in carbide compounds will allow more accurate analyses of multicomponent thin-layered structures, like hard coatings and corrosion-protection coatings, which are often investigated in our laboratories for Slovenian industrial partners and other Slovenian research institutions. The collaboration of our group at development of the new x-ray microscope Twinmic at the synchrotron light source Elettra in Trieste provides access also to other Slovenian researchers to this top-level and expensive research equipment.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
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