Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
Nano-structured coatings have recently attracted increasing interest because of the possibilities of synthesizing materials with unique properties, such as high hardness, toughness, wear resistance, optical transparency, making them technologically attractive for different applications from the industrial to biomedical. In the field of hard coatings, these materials can be grouped in two main classes: (1) hard multilayer and (2) hard nanocomposite coatings. The most common nano-structured coatings employed in hardness applications are based on carbides, nitrides, borides, and oxides of transition metals and of group III and IV elements. These coatings are frequently synthesized by plasma-assisted techniques due to their versatility, which enables the tailoring of nanocoating properties, the use of a variety of substrates, and ensures a high reproducibility of deposition conditions. This chapter presents an overview of the hard nanocoatings and the main plasma-assisted techniques for their synthesis. Among these techniques are highlighted plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition, and magnetron sputtering deposition. Characteristics of some hard coatings obtained by these techniques are described.