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18 May 2006 Conversion of metal carbides to carbide derived carbon by reactive ion etching in halogen gas
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The excellent tribological properties, very low friction coefficient, ~0.05, of the recently discovered carbide derived carbon (CDC) films have shown them to be excellent candidates in many applications where friction and wear are dominating issues in performance. In this work we examine the feasibility of employing a reactive ion etching process (RIE) with chlorine gas at low temperature, as opposed to the current high temperature chlorination process, in achieving the conversion of metal carbide films into amorphous carbon films. The overall goal is develop a process that is friendlier to microfabricated devices towards employing the tribological properties of CDC films in such devices. We examine this RIE processing using both bulk scale and thin film specimens. These metal-carbide specimens are subjected to a halogen containing ion plasma at reduced pressure in order to leach out the metal, resulting in an amorphous carbon film, a so-called carbide-derived carbon (CDC) process. This reactive ion etching process has been used to produce carbon layers on multiphase carbide materials containing silicon and titanium. The resulting carbon layers have been characterized using a variety of techniques. The results on the bulk scale specimens, via Raman spectrometry, indicated that RIE processing can indeed achieve conversion, while results of the thin films indicated that although conversion occurred poor adhesion of the films to the substrate resulted spallation during friction testing attempts.
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Cai Liang, Barton C. Prorok, Prateek Gupta, Marcin Tlustochovicz, Ranyi Zhu, and Michael McNallan "Conversion of metal carbides to carbide derived carbon by reactive ion etching in halogen gas", Proc. SPIE 6223, Micro (MEMS) and Nanotechnologies for Space Applications, 62230J (18 May 2006);

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