Structural investigation and gas barrier performance of diamond-like carbon based films on polymer substrates

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In this report, tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C), hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H), silicon doped tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C:Si:H), and silicon doped hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H:Si) films with thickness in the range 50-370nm have been produced by PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition) and FCVA (Filtered Cathodic Vacuum Arc) techniques on Polyethylene terepthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC) substrates. The paper is concerned with exploring the links between the atomic structure, gas barrier performance in carbon based films deposited on polymer substrates. A range of techniques including XRR, NEXAFS, Raman, surface profilometry,nano-indentation and water vapour permeation analysis were used to analyze the icrostructure and properties of the films. The intensity and area of pi* peak at the C K (carbon) edge of the NEXAFS spectra was lower in the FCVA films in comparison to that of PECVD ones confirming the higher sp(3) content of FCVA films. The surface of ta-C films showed a network of micro-cracks, which is detrimental for gas barrier application. However, the surfaces of both ta-C:H:Si and a-C:H:Si silicon-incorporated films were almost free of cracks. We also found that the incorporation of Si into both types of DLC films lead to a significant reduction of water vapour transmission rate. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2005


  • diamond-like carbon
  • arc discharge
  • chemical vapor deposition
  • microstructure


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