Embodiments related to chemical vapor deposition of aluminum nitride onto surfaces are provided. In particular, methods are provided for coating AlN onto solid surfaces by heating and vaporizing an aluminum nitride precursor and exposing solid surfaces to the heated and vaporized aluminum nitride precursor. In an embodiment, the aluminum nitride precursor is AlCl.sub.3(NH.sub.3).sub.x, wherein x=1-6. In an embodiment, the surface is a metallic substrate, such as a silicon, aluminum nitride, steel, aluminum, molybdenum and manganese. In an embodiment, the surface is steel that is nitrided to form an iron nitride layer on which AlN is deposited.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under DE-FG02-04ER83939 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.