External magnetic field guiding in HiPIMS to control sp3fraction of tetrahedral amorphous carbon films

Behnam Akhavan, Rajesh Ganesan, Stephen Bathgate, Dougal G. McCulloch, James G. Partridge, Mihail Ionsecu, Dave T.A. Matthews, Michael Stueber, Sven Ulrich, David R. McKenzie, Marcela M.M. Bilek

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Amorphous carbon films have many applications that require control over their sp3 fraction to customise the electrical, optical and mechanical properties. Examples of these applications include coatings for machine parts, biomedical and microelectromechanical devices. In this work, we demonstrate the use of a magnetic field with a high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) source as a simple, new approach to give control over the sp3 fraction. We provide evidence that this strategy enhances the deposition rate by focusing the flux, giving films with high tetrahedral bonding at the centre of the deposition field and lower sp3 fractions further from the centre. Resistive switching appears in films with intermediate sp3 fractions. The production of thin amorphous carbon films with selected properties without the need for electrical bias opens up applications where insulating substrates are required. For example, deposition of sp3 rich films on polymers for wear resistant coatings as well as fabrication of resistive switching devices for neuromorphic technologies that require tuning of the sp3 fraction on insulating substrates are now possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045002
JournalJournal of physics D: applied physics
Issue number4
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Carbon film
  • HiPIMS
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Resistive switching
  • Tetrahedral amorphous-carbon
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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