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Surface morphology studies on carbon nitride films prepared by rf magnetron sputtering

ABSTRACT: A series of amorphous carbon nitride (a-C:N) films have been deposited on silicon wafer substrates at different rf powers. Fourier Transform Infrared Absorption (FTIR) results indicated that nitrogen atoms are effectively incorporated in the amorphous network of these films. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) images have shown that a larger cluster size and a rougher surface developed in films prepared at higher rf-input power. This also affected the concentration of the incorporated nitrogen in the films. 1

In 1989, Liu and Cohen et al (1989) predicted a new carbon nitride compound p-C3N4 with a higher hardness than that of diamond. Subsequent experiments have demonstrated that amorphous carbon nitride (a-C:N) films have a low friction coefficient, chemical inertness, and a variable optical band gap (Ogata et al 1994; Bousetta et al 1995; Li et al 1995). Significant efforts have been made therefore to synthesise and understand this material. Among the different film deposition techniques such as sputtering (McKenzie et al 1982; Sjostrom et al 1996), chemical vapor deposition (Han et al 1988), laser ablation (Niu et al 1993; Xion et al 1993), arc deposition (Wang et al 1995) and ion-beam deposition (Weissmantel et al 1981), the reactive radio frequency (rf) sputtering deposition technique is most commonly used and is an important technique industrial applications (Lifshitz 1997).