Synthesis and characterization of Zr2Al3C4 thin films
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Zr2Al3C4 is an inherently nanolaminated carbide where layers of ZrC alternatewith layers of Al3C2. Characterization of bulk samples has shown it has improved damage tolerance and oxidation resistance compared to its binary counterpart ZrC. Though a potential candidate for coatings applied for use in harsh environments, thin films of Zr2Al3C4 have not been reported.We have synthesized epitaxial Zr2Al3C4 thin films by pulsed cathodic arc deposition from three elemental cathodes, and have studied the effect of incident atomic flux ratio, deposition temperature, and choice of substrate on material quality. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that Zr2Al3C4 of the highest structural quality was obtained for growth on 4 H-SiC(001) substrate at 800 ^deg;C. Also, suppression of competing phases could be achieved on á-Al2O3(001) at elevated substrate temperatures. Very similar growth behavior to that of the well-known Mn+1AXn phases - Al supersaturation, binary carbide intergrowth and high sensitivity to choice of substrate - indicates a strong connection between the two families ofmaterials, despite their differences in structure and in chemistry.
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