Synthesis and electrochemical properties of Ti-doped DLC films by a hybrid PVD/PECVD process
Abstract Low electrical conductivity and poor adhesion to metallic substrates are the main drawbacks of diamond-like carbon (DLC) films when used in electrode applications. In this study, Ti-doped DLC films with various Ti contents were synthesized on metal Ti substrates by a hybrid PVD/PECVD process, where PECVD was used for deposition of DLC films and PVD was used for Ti doping. The effects of the Ti doping ratio on the microstructure, adhesion strength, and electrical and electrochemical properties of the DLC films were systematically investigated. An increase in the Ti content led to increased surface roughness and a higher sp 2 /sp 3 ratio of the Ti-DLC films. Ti atoms existed as amorphous-phase Ti carbide when the Ti doping ratio was less than 2.8 at.%, while the nanocrystalline TiC phase was formed in DLC films when the Ti doping ratio was exceeded 4.0 at.%. The adhesion strength, electrical resistivity, electrochemical activity and reversibility of the DLC films were greatly improved by Ti doping. The influence of Ti doping ratio on the electrical and electrochemical properties of the DLC films were also investigated and the best performance was obtained at a Ti content of 2.8 at.%. Highlights Ti-DLC films with various Ti content were synthesized a hybrid PVD/PECVD process. Ti doping led to increased surface roughness and sp 2 /sp 3 ratio of the DLC films. Ti atoms existed amorphous-phase Ti carbide at low Ti doping ratio. Electrical and electrochemical properties of the films were improved by Ti doping. The adhesion strength of the DLC films was also improved by Ti doping. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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