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       Preparation and Characterization of Hard Coatings
Russell Messier
Penn State University
265 Materials Research Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
U.S.A.



Hard coatings are a broad class of materials that are used in a wide range of applications from cutting tools and decorative coatings to computer hard disks and windshield screens. They include metals, alloys, oxides, carbides, nitrides, borides, and even diamond - and a wide range of predominantly carbon-based materials with properties similar to diamond. Hard coatings are used commercially as single layers, graded layers, multilayers, and superlattices.  They range from µm-scale crystallite size to nm-scale crystallite size, and even amorphous.  The coatings are both stable phase and metastable phase materials, as well as multiphase materials. They are made by techniques ranging from purely chemical (CVD) to purely physical (PVD) processes.
After presenting this summary of hard coatings in science and technology, I will focus on two ultra-hard materials carbon and boron nitride. Carbon materials include diamond, diamond-like carbon, and tetrahedral amorphous carbon, and are made by CVD, PVD/CVD, and CVD, respectively.  BN has only been prepared by PVD methods.  The successes and remaining problems of each will be discussed.
 


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