Russian scientists have created a device for scanning thin films

Staff at Holy Trinity Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM) created a device that allows a comprehensive analysis of coating thickness from a few nanometers to a few micrometers and a hardness of from several to tens of GPa. Previously, the study of complex parameters to the strength of the roughness had to use multiple heterogeneous devices, now this can be done using a single hardware and software system. Thereby significantly reducing the measurement time as coatings on the output quality control, and within the objectives of R & D industrial concerns.

  • Aleksey_Useinov
  • Aleksey_Useinov

Alexei Useinov and his unit are used to working with coatings in thousands and hundreds of thousands of times thinner than a human hair

Ultrathin coatings industry in recent years shows significant growth. Today coatings protect from glare and ultraviolet or chips and cracks a wide variety of glass: from automotive and window to the ophthalmic. The roofs of stadiums and bus stops are covered with polycarbonate, which is an order of magnitude softer than glass. Huge area — strengthening coatings for experiencing friction parts of various machinery and cutting tools — such as drill diameter of 50 micrometers (two times thinner human hair) For producing a hole in printed circuit boards.

The samples were scanned diamond tip

In addition, ultra-thin coatings are used in the computer industry — for example, in the manufacture of hard disk drives, which are a kind of layered cake: aluminum substrate, a magnetic layer on it to 2 microns to store information, and then — protective diamond film and lubricant — a viscous coating that reduces friction. The thickness of the two layers of the past — is several nanometers.

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The project "Development and organization of pilot production of automated measurement system for process control of the mechanical properties of nanostructured coatings"Was supported by the Federal Program" Research and development on priority directions of scientific-technological complex of Russia for 2007-2013 ". Budget financing of the project in 2011-2013 — 211 million rubles, off-budget — 195 million rubles.

Scratch on film termookisla on the surface of silicon deposited with varying load: three-dimensional model, two-dimensional projection and depth chart

The minimum thickness of industrial coatings is now a few nanometers, but the trend is that every two years, becoming thinner coatings. Therefore, the study of their properties is of particular importance.

In TISNCM developed hardware and software package that allows in a single measurement cycle to estimate the maximum number of characteristics of thin coatings, among them — roughness, thickness, hardness, elasticity, fracture toughness, wear resistance, adhesive strength, that is, how well the cover is held on the substrate. The study of a wide range of features with a single instrument has a great advantage in terms of speed measurements, as well as in those cases where the time between the studies is of critical importance. For example, when the studied materials are characterized by the ability to recover after a mechanical impact surface. In addition, this complex allows measuring the mechanical properties of the films without the influence of the substrate.

— As usual it going? The customer brings two dozen samples. They all, at first glance, are the same. But the modes of production are different — the manufacturer of the material parameters vary, trying to achieve the optimal result. And from the measured properties we need to find out which mode is optimal from the point of view of obtaining the desired functional characteristics — says Alexei Useinov, Head of the Research Department of Physics and Mathematical properties TISNCM.

Relief map of the surface and the distribution of its visco-elastic properties are obtained by researchers scanning probe microscopy. Scanning in tapping mode produces diamond tip, mounted on a vibrating probe. Quantitative measurements of elastic modulus at given points is performed using the power spectroscopy, pushing the diamond tip into the surface of the material. The dependence of the oscillation frequency characteristic penetration depth modulus sample. The hardness and wear resistance are determined by the mechanical response of the material in the introduction to his diamond tip.

Currently the device to scan thin films finally ready to go public acceptance testing. In the future, the developers plan to his master not only Russian, but also the international market.

Alex Ognyov

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