Mechanical Characterization of Ultra-Thin Fluorocarbon Films Deposited by R.F. Magnetron Sputtering

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Fluorocarbon films were deposited on silicon substrate by R.F. magnetron sputtering using a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) target. Structure of the deposited films was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Hardness, elastic modulus and scratch resistance were measured using a nanoindenter with scratch capability. –CFx (x = 1, 2, 3) and C–C units were found in the deposited fluorocarbon films. The hardness and elastic modulus of the films are strongly dependent on the R.F. power and deposition pressure. The film hardness is in the range from 0.8 GPa to 1.3 GPa while the film elastic modulus is in the range from 8 GPa to 18 GPa. Harder films exhibit higher scratch resistance. Differences in nanoindentation behavior between the deposited fluorocarbon films, diamond-like carbon (DLC) films and PTFE were discussed. The fluorocarbon films should find more applications in the magnetic storage and micro/nanoelectromechanical systems.