Tailoring Mechanical Properties of a-C:H:Cr Coatings

Alireza Bagherpour, Paul Baral, Marie-Stéphane Colla, Andrey Orekhov, Hosni Idrissi, HAYE Emile, Thomas Pardoen, Stéphane Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of coatings with tunable performances is critical to meet a wide range of technological applications each one with different requirements. Using the plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process, scientists can create hydrogenated amorphous carbon coatings doped with metal (a-C:H:Me) with a broad range of mechanical properties, varying from those resembling polymers to ones resembling diamond. These diverse properties, without clear relations between the different families, make the material selection and optimization difficult but also very rich. An innovative approach is proposed here based on projected performance indices related to fracture energy, strength, and stiffness in order to classify and optimize a-C:H:Me coatings. Four different a-C:H:Cr coatings deposited by PECVD with Ar/C 2H 2 discharge under different bias voltage and pressures are investigated. A path is found to produce coatings with a selective critical energy release rate between 5–125 J/m 2 without compromising yield strength (1.6–2.7 GPa) and elastic limit (≈0.05). Finally, fine-tuned coatings are categorized to meet desired applications under different testing conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2084
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023


  • chromium-doped hydrogenated amorphous carbon
  • fracture toughness
  • hardness
  • magnetron sputtering
  • materials selection
  • tensile testing


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