Keywords: diamond-like carbon, nanoclusters, self-assembly, nickel, amorphous thin films, nanotechnology, carbon composites
Self-assembled Ni nanoclusters in a diamond-like carbon matrix
Trace amounts (∼5 at%) of metal-containing diamond-like carbon films (DLC) have been deposited using a Off Plane Double Bend Filtered Cathodic Vacuum Arc (OPDB-FCVA) system. The films prepared this way resulted in amorphous thin films where the metal atoms are randomly mixed in a DLC matrix. These films are sometimes called carbon composites. In this paper, the observation of self-assembled Ni nanoclusters by high resolution TEM in a DLC matrix is reported. This phenomenon has only been observed in Ni and not in other metals such as Al, W etc. These Ni nanoclusters have a diameter of ∼2 nm and XRD measurements confirms a (111) orientation while XPS shows that no carbide formation occurs between Ni and DLC.