A solar selective absorber coating of CrNxOy/SiO 2 was prepared on Cu (Si) substrate using DC reactive magnetron sputtering technique. The coating exhibits a high absorptivity (α) of 0.947 and a low emissivity (ε) of 0.05 at 80 °C. The spectral selectivity (α/ε) of the coating on Cu substrate is stable (0.930/0.073) even after heat-treatment at 278 °C in air for 300 h, but decreased (0.904/0.135) at 278 C for 600 h. The determinants to govern the thermal stability were investigated by micro-Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) measurements, which reveal that the element diffusion whether throughout all the stacked layers or near the interface region, the chemical interactions adjacent to the interface, and the interface width broadening are the Achilles' heel for the solar thermal coatings to sustain high thermal stability. Crown Copyright © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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