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The multilayered structure of ultrathin amorphous carbon films synthesized by filtered cathodic vacuum arc deposition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2013

Na Wang
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
Kyriakos Komvopoulos*
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
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The structure of ultrathin amorphous carbon (a-C) films synthesized by filtered cathodic vacuum arc (FCVA) deposition was investigated by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Results of the plasmon excitation energy shift and through-thickness elemental concentration show a multilayered a-C film structure comprising an interface layer consisting of C, Si, and, possibly, SiC, a buffer layer with continuously increasing sp3 fraction, a relatively thicker layer (bulk film) of constant sp3 content, and an ultrathin surface layer rich in sp2 hybridization. A detailed study of the C K-edge spectrum indicates that the buffer layer between the interface layer and the bulk film is due to the partial backscattering of C+ ions interacting with the heavy atoms of the silicon substrate. The results of this study provide insight into the minimum thickness of a-C films deposited by FCVA under optimum substrate bias conditions.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2013 

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