Micro-tribology is a key technology in micro-mechanics and the magnetic recording head-media interface. The atomic-scale surface state is very important in micro-tribology. However, the concepts of micro-tribological material design are not clear. The top-surface must be modified to improve micro-tribological properties. To improve adhesion and strength, hard carbon films containing silicon deposited by an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma depositor are examined for friction and wear using a reciprocating tribometer. Fluorinated silicon-containing films are deposited to reduce atomic-scale wear. Micro-tribological properties of this film are investigated by ultra-low load wear-testing, leading to the following conclusions: (1) The micro-tribological characteristics of silicon-containing carbon film are improved by fluorination. Fluorination decreases the surface energy, evaluated by contact angle to the water, and reduces the micro-wear on an atomic scale. (2) The adhesion to the substrate and the strength of the carbon film are greatly improved by adding small quantities of silicon. These films also have significantly longer lubricating lives.

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