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What is Titanium nitride (TiN)?
(TiN) is a very hard ceramic, sometimes called Tinite, that’s used to improve the surface properties of aluminum, titanium alloys, carbide steels, and other substrates.
The thin coating of TiN, due to its golden color, is used as a protective and hardening layer for cutting and sliding surfaces. In addition, it can also be used as an exterior surface for medical implants that are non-toxic. In the majority of applications, a thin coating less than 5 millimeters is applied.
Titanium Nitride Characteristics
Titanium Nitride’s Vickers hardness is 1800-2100. It has a 251 GPa modulus, a 9.35×10-6 K-1 thermal expansion coefficient, and a 5.6 K superconducting threshold temperature.
Titanium Nitride is oxidized at 800 degrees Celsius in normal air. Titanium Nitride appears golden when coated and has a brownish color. Laboratory tests show that it is chemically inert at 20 degC. However, with increasing temperatures, concentrated acid solutions can slowly attack the material. Titanium Nitride has a coefficient friction of 0.4-0.9, depending on its surface finish and substrate. The typical TiN structure is NaCl type with a 1:1 stoichiometry. However, TiNx with x between 0.6 and 1.2 is thermodynamically stabile.
TiN superconducts at cryogenic temperature, with critical temperatures as high as 6.0 K in single crystals. Superconductivity in thin-film TiN has been studied extensively, with the superconducting properties strongly varying depending on sample preparation, up to complete suppression of superconductivity at a superconductor-insulator transition. After a thin layer of TiN had been chilled to almost absolute zero, it was transformed into the world’s first superinsulator. Its resistance increased by a factor 100,000.
Titanium nitride Applications
TiN coated drill bit
Gerber pocketknife coated with dark gray TiCN
It is well known that
The coating improves the lifetime of machine tooling such as milling and drill bits by up to three times.
TiN’s metallic golden color is used for decorative purposes to cover costume jewelry and automobile trim. TiN can also be used on door and plumbing hardware as a decorative top-layer, often with nickel or chromium-plated substrates. It’s used as a protective coating for aerospace and military purposes, and on the suspension forks in bicycles and motorbikes, as well as shock shafts in radio-controlled vehicles. As it is so durable, TiN can also be used to coat the moving components of semi-automatic weapons and rifles. The coating is not only extremely durable but also very smooth. This makes removing carbon build-up a breeze. TiN, which is non-toxic and meets FDA guidelines has been used to coat medical devices, such as orthopedic bone saw blades and scalpel knives, when edge retention and sharpness were important. The TiN coatings were also used to coat implanted medical implants (especially hip implants) and prostheses.
Although thin films are not as visible, they still have a similar effect.
In microelectronics they are used as diffusion barriers to stop the diffusion of metals into silicon. TiN is classified in this context as a “barrier metal” (electrical conductivity 25 uO*cm), despite the fact that it is clearly ceramic when viewed from a chemistry and mechanical perspective. Recently, chip design for 45 nm and beyond has also used TiN to improve transistor performance. In conjunction with gate dielectrics such as HfSiO has a greater permittivity than SiO2 and can therefore be used to reduce gate lengths with low leakage. TiN thin films may also be used to coat zirconium-alloys to create accident-tolerant nuclear fuels.
TiN layers can be used for electrodes as well in bioelectronics applications, such as in intelligent implants and in-vivo sensors that must resist the corrosion caused by bodily fluids. TiN electrodes have already been applied in the subretinal prosthesis project as well as in biomedical microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMS).
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