Amorphous (ɑ-C) and hydrogenated amorphous carbon (ɑ-C:H) films have many useful physical properties such as hardness, low friction, electrical insulation, chemical inertness, optical transparency, biological compatibility, ability to absorb photons selectively, smoothness, and resistance to wear. For a number of years these technologically attractive properties have drawn tremendous interest towards these coatings. They are widely used to modify surfaces of materials and improve their tribological properties.
Control of their layer thickness and optical constants are important properties for optimizing the coatings for R&D and industrial purposes. The characterization of amorphous carbon coatings by spectroscopic ellipsometry enables the simultaneous measurement of these properties as well as further information about surface roughness and the proportion of sp2 and sp3 bonds in many cases.
Furthermore the technique can provide information about the adherence of the coating where an interface is found between the substrate and the coating.
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