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Studies and development of a PE-CVD system with use of additional cathode for deposit of DLC films of high adhesion and improved properties


Abstract.The research of nanostructured materials, in the form of coatings or thin films, with advanced properties has enabled the development of new scientific and technological evolutions in different segments of the academy and the productive sector. Among these materials, hydrogenated amorphous carbon (aC: H), also known as DLC (Diamond-like Carbon), has been outstanding due to its excellent properties such as high mechanical strength, high hardness, low friction coefficient, among others. One challenge for researchers in the field of surface engineering is to deposit high adhesion DLC films onto metal substrates for applications of industrial interest where scale and automation studies become necessary. The automation here dictates, it is not restricted to automate an equipment, but to understand chemically and physically the process of deposition of thin films of DLC, in the different types of substrates, so that the system allows the study of the properties of these thin films in the different positions inside of the reactor aiming to maximize the use of the gases components via control of flow, pressure, temperature, percentage among precursor gases, etc.As a complement to this project it is proposed to identify and better understand the issues involved in adhesion between DLC films and different metal substrates, especially with the deepening of the use of XPS, SIMS and TEM techniques, in addition to the techniques conventionally used. For this purpose, the PECVD pulsed DC (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) with additional cathode, although little explored until now, will be used for the deposition of DLC films in large areas and large internal volumes of a reactor specially prepared for this work . In this way, the main contribution of the project is the detailed study of this technique in order to establish the deposition parameters required for the synthesis of high adhesion DLC films and low residual stresses and to establish a correlation with the dimensions and shapes of the additional cathode, which is the main responsible for high adherence.As part of the characterization studies of DLC films, the structural, morphological, mechanical and tribological properties of the synthesized samples will be determined as a function of the dimensions of the additional cathode, which for the first time will be studied to be fully understood. Finally, it is emphasized that this system was patented during the doctoral work, and that the proponent of this request is co-author, where for the first one was used a PECVD system to operate at pressures below 10-3 Torr, a process of growth of films through PECVD in non-collision regime, providing high adhesion between the DLC film and the respective substrates. Automation is only a necessity to be achieved during the studies, where the differentiated properties of the DLC films must be the same for the entire volume of the reactor, which requires a greater control of the parameters involved in the discharge process, among them gas flow, in different regions of the reactor, fraction between precursor components, applied voltage (pulse width, frequency and amplitude). Lastly, it should be recalled that, as expected, the scale and automation parameters, as expected, will be made available to the national and international market for the first time as an innovation in advanced instrumentation with a strong impact and as a of the most important by-products of the DLC studies. (AU)

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