Hard coatings are fabricated from boron nitride, cubic boron nitride, and multilayer boron/cubic boron nitride, and the fabrication thereof involves magnetron sputtering in a selected atmosphere. These hard coatings may be applied to tools and engine and other parts, as well to reduce wear on tribological surfaces and electronic devices. These boron coatings contain no morphological growth features. For example, the boron is formed in an inert (e.g. argon) atmosphere, while the cubic boron nitride is formed in a reactive (e.g. nitrogen) atmosphere. The multilayer boron/cubic boron nitride, is produced by depositing alternate layers of boron and cubic boron nitride, with the alternate layers having a thickness of 1 nanometer to 1 micrometer, and at least the interfaces of the layers may be discrete or of a blended or graded composition.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.