Chemical vapor deposition was employed to grow nano-structured carbon films on a titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) using different N2/CH4 feedgas ratios in a balance of H2. Of particular interest is a determination of how the film hardness changes with N2/CH4 feedgas ratio and how this measurement correlates with the film structure as determined using micro-Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy. We find that the broad Raman peak at 1550 cm-1 (attributed predominantly to tetrahedral amorphous carbon) becomes more intense and sharp with increasing N2/CH4 ratio and that the relative concentrations of CH4 and N2 are critically linked to the hardness of the film. The combination of high film hardness, low surface roughness, and good toughness is highly desirable (especially for deposition on metals) and these properties can be optimized by manipulation of the N2 and CH4 feedgas concentrations.
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