Nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) films are expected to possess the superior properties of diamond combined with smooth surfaces and a low stress. The scientific objectives of the project include the investigation of the deposition, Characterisation and technological applications of NCD/a-C composite films. The films composed of NCD (with grain sizes up to 10nm) dispersed in an amorphous carbon matrix (a-C) will be prepared by microwave plasma chemical vapour deposition (MWCVD) and will be optimised concerning not only the crystallite size but also the nature of the matrix and especially regarding the combined effect of both components of the composite on the film properties for advanced applications. The obtained layers will be thoroughly investigated with respect to their basic (crystallite size, morphology, bonding structure of the matrix, composition of the matrix) and application relevant (deposition area, homogeneity, hardness, friction coefficient, stress, biocompatibility, etc.) properties. The possible applications of NCD/a-C films as wear resistant coatings for biomedical purposes and as a new material with extreme properties in micro-an nanostructure technology (for MEMS, AFM tips, membranes) will be evaluated. The training objectives of the proposal are closely related to the scientific ones and include gaining of knowledge for new deposition techniques, appropriate for preparation of advanced materials, for new analytical techniques, as a part of the extensive characterisation necessary for the thorough investigation of the materials and for testing of the functionalities of the materials with the application of multidisciplinary approaches, e.g. microtechnology, biological and chemical methods.
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