Tribological performance of Nb-C thin films prepared by DC and HiPIMS

N. Sala, M. D. Abad, J. C. Sánchez-López, M. Cruz, J. Caro, C. Colominas

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nanostructured NbC thin films with variable contents of Nb and C were prepared by direct current (DC) magnetron sputtering, and for the first time, via high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) searching for an improvement in the tribological properties. X-ray diffraction shows that increasing the carbon incorporation, the crystalline composition evolves from Nb2C to NbC phase. Further carbon enrichment leads to a nanocomposite structure formed by small NbC crystals (8–14 nm) dispersed in a-C matrix. The friction coefficient varied from high friction (0.8) to low friction (0.25) and the hardness values between 20 and 11 GPa depending on the film composition. A densification of the coatings by changing the methodology from DC to HiPIMS was not observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128334
JournalMaterials Letters
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • Nanocomposites
  • Physical vapour deposition
  • Sputtering
  • Thin films
  • Wear and tribology


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