Nanoscale Visualization of Elastic Inhomogeneities at TiN Coatings Using Ultrasonic Force Microscopy
1 CINVESTAV-IPN, U. Saltillo, Apdo. Postal 663, 25900, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
2 Laboratory of Nanotechnology, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Pza. Manuel Meca 1, 13400, Almadén, Spain
Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 4:1493-1501 doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9426-3Published: 16 September 2009
Ultrasonic force microscopy has been applied to the characterization of titanium nitride coatings deposited by physical vapor deposition dc magnetron sputtering on stainless steel substrates. The titanium nitride layers exhibit a rich variety of elastic contrast in the ultrasonic force microscopy images. Nanoscale inhomogeneities in stiffness on the titanium nitride films have been attributed to softer substoichiometric titanium nitride species and/or trapped subsurface gas. The results show that increasing the sputtering power at the Ti cathode increases the elastic homogeneity of the titanium nitride layers on the nanometer scale. Ultrasonic force microscopy elastic mapping on titanium nitride layers demonstrates the capability of the technique to provide information of high value for the engineering of improved coatings.