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Amorphous W-S-N thin films: The atomic structure behind ultra-low friction

Isaeva, Leyla and Sundberg, Jill and Mukherjee, Soham and Pelliccione, Christopher J and Lindblad, Andreas and Segre, Carlo U and Jansson, Ulf and Sarma, DD and Eriksson, Olle and Kadas, Krisztina (2015) Amorphous W-S-N thin films: The atomic structure behind ultra-low friction. In: ACTA MATERIALIA, 82 . pp. 84-93.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2014.08.043


Amorphous W-S-N in the form of thin films has been identified experimentally as an ultra-low friction material, enabling easy sliding by the formation of a WS2 tribofilm. However, the atomic-level structure and bonding arrangements in amorphous W-S-N, which give such optimum conditions for WS2 formation and ultra-low friction, are not known. In this study, amorphous thin films with up to 37 at.% N are deposited, and experimental as well as state-of-the-art ab initio techniques are employed to reveal the complex structure of W-S-N at the atomic level. Excellent agreement between experimental and calculated coordination numbers and bond distances is demonstrated. Furthermore, the simulated structures are found to contain N bonded in molecular form, i.e. N-2, which is experimentally confirmed by near edge X-ray absorption fine structure and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. Such N-2 units are located in cages in the material, where they are coordinated mainly by S atoms. Thus this ultra-low friction material is shown to be a complex amorphous network of W, S and N atoms, with easy access to W and S for continuous formation of WS2 in the contact region, and with the possibility of swift removal of excess nitrogen present as N-2 molecules. (C) 2014 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, THE BOULEVARD, LANGFORD LANE, KIDLINGTON, OXFORD OX5 1GB, ENGLAND
Keywords: Tribology; Thin films; Ab initio calculations; EXAFS; WS2
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2015 14:24
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2015 14:24
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/50763

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