A plasma-based method for the deposition of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings is described. The process uses a radio-frequency inductively coupled discharge to generate a plasma at relatively low gas pressures. The deposition process is environmentally friendly and scaleable to large areas, and components that have geometrically complicated surfaces can be processed. The method has been used to deposit adherent 100-400 nm thick DLC coatings on metals, glass, and polymers. These coatings are between three and four times harder than steel and are therefore scratch resistant, and transparent to visible light. Boron and silicon doping of the DLC coatings have produced coatings having improved optical properties and lower coating stress levels, but with slightly lower hardness.
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.