Microstructure and Physical Properties of Iron Carbide Films Formed by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition


We report the structure and properties of iron-containing films deposited on glass substrates maintained at temperatures between 200 and 500°C. The films investigated were Fe3O4, Fe7C3, Fe3C, and α-Fe, deposited at substrate temperatures of 200, 300, 400 and 500°C, respectively. The measured SEM grain sizes from these 200-700 nm thick films were in the 50-350 nm range. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy show larger grains and increased crystallinity in the films deposited at higher substrate temperatures. The larger grain sizes and increased crystallinity are consequences of bulk diffusion and surface recrystallization. The sheet conductivities of the films increase with increasing film deposition temperature, due to coarser grain structures and higher iron to carbon ratios in the higher temperature films. The phases remain unchanged after annealing at 400°C for 4 h. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy show evidence of bulk rearrangement and a reduction of thickness in the annealed films.



Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Third Department


Keywords and Phrases

Annealing; Carbides; Chemical Vapor Deposition; Crystal Microstructure; Glow Discharges; Iron Oxides; Phase Composition; Plasma Applications; Recrystallization (metallurgy); Scanning Electron Microscopy; Thermal Effects; X ray Crystallography; Bulk Diffusion; Iron Carbide Films; Sheet Conductivity; Surface Recrystallization; Thin Films

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 1996 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 1996