Revealing dynamic-mechanical properties of precipitates in a nanostructured thin film using micromechanical spectroscopy

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Nanostructured materials with their remarkable properties are key enablers in many modern applications. For example, industrial dry-milling processes would not be as widely spread without the use of hard, wear-resistant metal nitride coatings to protect the cutting tools. However, improving these nanostructured thin films with regard to dynamical properties is demanding as probing respective parameters of (sub-)micron layers without any substrate influence is still challenging. To extend the scientific toolbox for such spatially confined systems, a novel methodological approach based on resonance peak measurements of a cantilever-transducer system termed micromechanical spectroscopy (µMS) is developed and applied to a Al0.8Cr0.2N model system. The mainly wurtzite type supersaturated Al0.8Cr0.2N system showed precipitation of cubic CrN at grain boundaries and local Cr variations upon annealing at 1050°C. This was accompanied by an increase in the previously unknown damping capability of 63 percent and an increase in Young’s modulus by 36 percent.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue numberSeptember
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).


  • AlCrN
  • Dynamic testing
  • Grain-boundary segregation engineering
  • Heat treatment
  • Micromechanical testing
  • Precipitation

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