Liu, S.; Wheeler, J. M.; Howie, P. R.; Zeng, X. T.; Michler, J.; Clegg, W. J.
Applied Physics Letters 102 (2013)
A way of characterizing cracking in a hard coating is described. Microscale double cantilever beams have been made by focused ion beam milling and compressed in situ using a nanoindenter. The method can account for frictional effects and is demonstrated first on single crystals of SiC and GaAs of known toughness, before studying cracking in CrN-based hard coatings. It is found that ultra-fine grained CrAlN/Si3N4 coatings have a toughness approximately twice that of a conventional CrN coating. Although grain-size effects are still unclear, in situ observations directly show crack interactions with particles of Cr and voids in the film. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.