Near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure studies ofCr1−xMxN coatings
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Engineering
Cr1−xMxN coatings, with doping concentrations (Si or Al) varying from 14.3 to 28.5 at.%, were prepared on AISI M2 tool steel substrates using a TEER UDP 650/4 closed field unbalanced magnetron sputtering system. Near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) characterization was carried out to measure the aluminum and silicon K-edges, as well as chromium L-edge, in the coatings. Two soft X-ray techniques, Auger electron yield (AEY) and total fluorescence yield (TFY), were employed to investigate the surface and inner structural properties of the materials in order to understand the structural evolution of CrN matrix with addition of Al (or Si) elements. Investigations on the local bonding states and grain boundaries of the coatings, using NEXAFS technique, provide significant information which facilitates understanding of the local electronic structure of the atoms and shed light on the origins of the high mechanical strength and oxidation resistance of these technologically important coatings.