Transition metal nitrides coatings are used as protective coatings against wear and corrosion. Their mechanical properties can be tailored by tuning the nitrogen content during film synthesis. The relationship between thin film preparation conditions and mechanical properties for tungsten nitride films is not as well understood as other transition metal nitrides, like titanium nitride. We report the synthesis of tungsten nitride films grown by reactive sputtering and laser ablation in the ambient of N2or N2/Ar mixture at various pressures on stainless steel substrates at 400 C. The composition of the films was determined by XPS. The optimal mechanical properties were found by nanoindentation based on the determination of the proper deposition conditions. As nitrogen pressure was increased during processing, the stoichiometry and hardness changed from W9N to W4N and 30.8-38.7 GPa, respectively, for films deposited by reactive sputtering, and from W6N to W2N and 19.5-27.7 GPa, respectively, for those deposited by laser ablation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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