E-MRS Spring Meeting, Straßburg, Frankreich, 28.05.-01.06.2007


Complex Multilayer Thin Film Designs for Advanced Protective PVD Coatings


M. Stueber, H. Leiste, S. Ulrich, C. Ziebert

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute of Materials Research I

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, D-76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen (Germany)



The technological challenges in present and future engineering applications require continuously new material solutions offering superior properties and performance. Such advanced multifunctional materials can be designed and synthesized systematically in a laboratory scale by means of physical vapor deposition (PVD) as highly-sophisticated thin films. Dealing with technical applications, the corresponding deposition processes and coating concepts should however be easy to scale-up.

The classical multilayer concept today is well-established and widely used for the design of protective coatings for wear resistance and mechanical applications. It has proved great potential for the development of novel thin film materials with tailored properties. In the past decade, the emerging new class of nanoscale coatings has offered the material scientists an even much more powerful tool box for the engineering thin film design through a combination of the multilayer concept with the new nanoscale coatings. Prominent examples are the use and integration of low friction carbon-based nanocomposite coatings (i.e. TiC/a-C) in multilayers or the nanostabilisation of a specific coating microstructure in a nanolaminated multilayer compound. 

This paper reviews the newest thin film developments based on the multilayer coating concept. It focuses on the integration of nanocrystalline, amorphous and nanocrystalline/amorphous composite materials in multilayers and on design principles such as nanostabilisation and nano-epitaxy as well. Furthermore, nano-modulated superlattice coatings and multilayer thin films with a nanoscale gradient in the chemical composition or in physical properties will be discussed. Innovative multilayer designs for future applications will be presented in the outlook.