Investigation of anomalous physical properties of multilayer nanolaminate (TiAl)N/Cu coatings by electron spectroscopy techniques

Anatoly Kovalev, Dmitry Wainstein, Alexandr Rashkovskiy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In accordance with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), (Ti34Al66)N/Cu physical vapour deposition (PVD) composite coating had a nanolaminated structure with 20 nm (Ti 34Al66)N and 2.0-5.0 nm fine grain recrystallized Cu layers. It was unexpectedly found that the coatings under investigation had a lower thermal conductivity coefficient of 25 to 450° C compared to the TiAlN single layer coating. The physical basis of thermo-barrier protective features of copper nanolayers was explained based on XPS and high-resolution electron energy losses spectroscopy (HREELS) data. The temperature dependence of the phonons and conducting electron vibrations was investigated for Cu bulk, (TiAl)N upper layer, and the intermediate Cu one. In comparison with Cu bulk reference sample, the intermediate Cu layers of complex PVD coating were characterized by the following features: size-dependent shift of Cu 2p3/2 binding energy, reduced plasmon losses and acoustic mode phonon vibrations amplitudes, and increased intensities of the optical mode vibrations. These features of phonon and plasmon oscillations in the crystal lattice of Cu nanolayers do not completely explain the anomalies of the thermal conductivity of the (TiAl)N/Cu PVD coating. The thermal barrier properties of Cu nanolayers can be primarily attributed to the mirror effect or reflecting of the heat flux from the surface by metal layer with high concentration of conducting electrons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1361-1363
Number of pages3
JournalSurface and Interface Analysis
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanolaminate TiAlN/Cu PVD multilayer coating
  • Phonon losses
  • Plasmon losses
  • Thermal conductivity
  • XPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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