Preparations and tribological properties of soft-metal/DLC composite coatings by RF magnetron sputter using composite targets

  • Minoru GotoEmail author


This work reports the characteristics and tribological properties of both Ag/DLC nanocomposite coatings (RF-Ag-DLC) and Cu/DLC nanocomposite coatings (RF-Cu-DLC) with hydrogen-free DLC matrix deposited by RF magnetron sputtering using a concentric composite target (CCT). The CCT consisted of a C base target and metal tablet, and the tablet was located on the center of the base target concentrically where the etching rate by Ar ions is extremely low. By changing the diameter of Ag or Cu tablets in CCT, RF-Ag-DLC with an Ag concentration ranging from 6 to 65 at.% and RF-Cu-DLC with Cu concentration ranging from 7 to 75 at.% can be prepared. These coatings show a granular structure having Ag or Cu nano-crystals with a diameter ranging from 5 to 10 nm dispersed homogeneously in the hydrogen-free DLC matrix. The friction coefficient of DLC varied depending on the species and content of metal. The transition of the friction coefficient became stable when metal-rich tribofilms formed on the counterfaces.


Soft metal DLC Nanocomposite RF magnetron sputter Tribology 



This work was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S) (25220902), (C) (26420093) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Collaborative Research Project (J14038 and J15018) of the Institute of Fluid Science of Tohoku University. The author expresses his gratitude to Dr. J. CHOI of Tokyo University for his support of Raman analysis. The author gratefully acknowledges Mr. M. Oda and Mr. T. Nawata among the students of National Institute of Technology, Ube College for their generous assistance with the coating preparations.


  1. Donnet, C., Erdemir, A.: Tribology of Diamond-Like Carbon Films–Fundamentals and Application. Springer, Berlin (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Eckstein, W.: Max-Planck-Institute fur Plasmaphysik, IPP Report, IPP9/132 (2002)Google Scholar
  3. Fontaine, J.: Towards the use of diamond-like carbon solid lubricant coatings in vacuum and space environments. Proc. IMechE. Part J: J. Eng. Tribol. 222, 1015–1029 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Goto, M., Honda, F.: Film-thickness effect of Ag lubricant layer in the nano-region. Wear 256, 1062–1071 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Goto, M., Nakahara, T., Honda, F.: Morphological effect of epitaxial Ag films with thickness of the order of nanometers on the tribological properties of a single-crystal silicon surface in an ultra-high-vacuum environment. Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. Part J: J. Eng. Tribol. 218(4): 279–291 (2004)Google Scholar
  6. Goto, M., Akimoto, K., Honda, F., Nakahara, T.: Tribo-assisted reorientation of nanometer-thick Ag film in ultrahigh vacuum environment, Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. Part J: J. Eng. Tribol. 220(3): 135–142 (2006)Google Scholar
  7. Goto, M., Ito, K., Fontaine, J., Takeno, T., Miki, H., Takagi, T.: Formation processes of metal-rich tribofilm on the counterface during sliding against metal/diamondlike-carbon nanocomposite coatings. Tribol. Online 10(5), 306–313 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ishida, T.: Preparing conductive transparent ITO films by RF magnetron sputtering with low self bias voltage and study on its self bias. J. Vac. Soc. Jpn. 44(8), 747–750 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kato, D., Kato, M., Murakami, I., Kato, T., Eckstein, W.: NIFS database on sputtering, reflection and range values. (2003)
  10. Koma, A., Yagi, K., Tsukada, M., Aono, M.: Handbook of Surface Science and Technology. Maruzen Co., Ltd (1987). (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  11. Kubo, S., Kato, K.: Effect of arc discharge on wear rate of Cu-impregnated carbon strip in unlubricated sliding against Cu trolley under electric current. Wear 216, 172–178 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Morrison, M.L., Buchanan, R.A., Liaw, P.K., Berry, C.J., Brigmon, R.L., Riester, L., Abemathy, H., Jin, C., Narayan, R.J.: Electrochemical and antimicrobial properties of diamondlike carbon-metal composite films. Diamond Relat. Mater. 15, 138–146 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Robertson, J.: Diamond-like amorphous carbon. Mater. Sci. Eng. R 37, 129–281 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Scharf, T.W., Prasad, S.V.: Solid lubricants: a review. J. Mater. Sci. 48, 511–531 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schouwenaars, R., Jacobo, V.H., Ortiz, A.: Microstructural aspects of wear in soft tribological alloys. Wear 263, 727–735 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sediri, A., Zaghrioui, M., Baricharda, A., Autret, C., Negulescua, B., Del Campob, L., Echegut, P., Laffez, P.: Growth of polycrystalline Pr2NiO4 + δ coating on alumina substrate by RF. Thin Solid Films 600, 131–135 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Singh, K., Limaye, P.K., Soni, N.L., Grover, A.K., Agrawal, R.G., Suri, A.K.: Wear studies of (Ti–Al)N coatings deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering. Wear 258, 1813–1824 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Takeno, T., Saito, H., Goto, M., Fontaine, J., Miki, H., Belin, M., Takagi, T., Adachi, K.: Deposition, structure and tribological behaviour of silver–carbon nanocomposite coatings. Diamond Relat. Mater. 39, 20–26 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials: Metal Data Handbook. Maruzen Co., Ltd (1974). (in Japanese) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational Institute of Technology, Ube CollegeUbeJapan

Personalised recommendations