The Plasmas and Nanomaterials Group, PLASNAMAT

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Current Projects (proyectos actuales)


Los siguientes proyectos están en desarrollo, por lo que están abiertos a la participación de nuevos alumnos en los diferentes grados: licenciatura, maestría y doctorado.

The following projects are under development, we are looking for new students to work on them.

“Propiedades tribo-mecánicas de recubrimientos nanocompuestos basados en oxidos”

   “Tribomechanical Properties of Nanocomposite Oxide Coatings”


person-1205346_960_720  S.E. Rodil  –  person-1205346_960_720 T. Polcar

(Collaboration project between IIM-UNAM and the University of Southampton, UK.)

The deposition of nanocomposite coatings, such as metal nitride nanocrystals immersed in an amorphous silicon nitride layer, is an appropriate method to improve the hardness of coatings above 40-50 GPa; meaning 10 times harder than steels and only half the hardness of diamond. Nevertheless, for many applications, it is not only the

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hardness that is the most relevant factor to improve the life time of machinery and tools. Other properties such as wear resistance, lubricity and oxidation resistance are also required. The objective of the present work is to evaluate the effect of the addition of Si (or boron) to metal oxide coatings (V2O5, Nb2O5, CuOx, MoO3, Bi2O3) with the aim of producing hard oxide coatings with low coefficients of friction at medium-high temperatures. The coatings will be produced by confocal dual magnetron sputtering; one target contains the metal and the other the Si [or B].

The coatings will be produced in an Ar+O2 atmosphere, varying the power applied to the secondary phase (Si or B). Meanwhile the power applied to the metallic target, the Ar/O2 flow ratio, the pressure and the substrate temperature are fixed to the conditions where stoichiometric crystalline metal oxide coatings can be produced. The structure of the coatings deposited on mirror polished M2 steel will be evaluated by X-ray and electron microscopies, the composition by energy dispersive spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, the morphology by scanning electron microscopy and the roughness and thickness by profilometry. The hardness of the coatings will be measured by nanoindentation as a function of the Si content, while the sliding/wear behavior of the coatings will be evaluated using the tribometers available at the National Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton.

“Óxidos ternarios de bismuto para aplicaciones en fotocatalisis, foto-disociación de agua, conductores iónicos y sensores de oxígeno”

“Ternary Bismuth Oxide coatings for applications in photocatalysis, water splitting, ionic conductors and oxygen sensors”

person-1205346_960_720    S.E. Rodil, Agileo Hernández

Este proyecto es una extensión de los proyectos anteriores BisNano y Phocscleen, donde buscamos aplicaciones avanzadas de materiales basados en bismuto.

This is our extension of the BisNano and Phocscleen projects looking for advanced application for bismuth-based materials.

“Aleaciones biodegradables de magnesio”

“Functional Biodegradable Magnesium Alloys”

person-1205346_960_720 S.E. Rodil     person-1205346_960_720 P. Silva-Bermudez    person-1205346_960_720A. Almaguer

This is a project done in multidisciplinary collaboration with Instituto nacional de Rehabilitación, Facultad de odontología-UNAM and the Helmholtz center in Germany. They provide us with magnesium alloys and we are looking for methods to improve their corrosion resistance and enhanced the osteogenic properties.

“Recubrimientos metálicos duros y tenaces resistentes a la corrosión”

“Hard-Tough and Corrosion Resistance Metallic Coatings”

person-1205346_960_720 S.E. Rodil

Metals are ductile and therefore they are not hard as the ceramics, this explains why in the industry of coatings, hard coatings are based on ceramics.  Hard coatings have been developed as a mean to modify the surface of tools and industrial components aiming to enhance their life span. This is achieved


since the hardness is about 5-6 times larger than the metallic substrates and so the wear rate is lower. By using advanced architectures of these ceramic coatings such as multilayers or 3D nanostructures, it has been possible to obtain hard coatings 10 times larger than the metallic substrates. However, being ceramics, these hard coatings are brittle and cannot sustain sudden impact, and sometimes the specific nano-architecture is loss at high temperatures, and so their enhanced properties.

Industry is not using these ceramics coatings since the corrosion resistance need further improvement and so they continue working with metallic coatings. However, new environmental regulations might limit in a near future the use of the current technologies to produce those metallic coatings. The aim of the present project is to find mechanisms to improve the properties of PVD metallic coatings to make them comparable or better to those conventional ones.


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