Thin Films and Surfaces F3


Research departments
Administration and support units


The main research activity of the Department of Thin Films and Surfaces are hard coatings for protection of tools and machine parts against wear. Hard coatings considerably decrease both wear and friction, therefore the tool lifetime increases several times.

Within the department there is the Hard Coatings Center, operating since 1985, where tools for our industrial partners are protected. Using different coating machines we offer the deposition of various PVD coatings: TiN, CrN, TiAlN, TiAlSiN and aCN, as well as others upon request. In the department, six researchers and four technicians are employed.


  • Development of hard protective coatings for protection of tools and machine parts
  • Mechanical properties of hard coatings (hardness, adhesion, internal stress)
  • Multilayer and multicomponent thin films
  • Diffusion processes in thin films
  • Plasma diagnostics

Departmental web pages
List of publications in international journals

Head of Department
Dr. Miha Čekada, Asst. Prof.,
Telephone: +386 1 477 37 96
Fax: +386 1 251 93 85

The research of hard protective coatings is distictively application-oriented, as the main goal is to increase the lifetime of tools in the machining environment. Optimal combination of properties required for hard coatings can only be achieved by an in-depth study in several levels: understanding the process of coating growth, analysis of influence of deposition parameters on coating properties, and analysis of coating wear processes. The topic is distinctively interdisciplinary, encompassing plasma physics, physics and chemistry of surfaces, metallurgy, materials science and mechanical engineering. Beside a targeted development of a coating for specific technological application, the study of above mentioned processes contributes to a general knowledge of deposition and application of hard coatings. The most important materials for hard coatings are transition metal nitrides, but the department is doing research on other materials such as diamond-like coatings, quasicrystals, oxides, etc. The emphasys of characterisation is in mechanical properties, such as micro- and nanohardness, and adhesion. This is not exclusively limited on hard coatings, as we measure these properties on other types of thin films too. Some of the techniques can also be applied for surfaces of bulk materials.

J. Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Telephone: +386 1 477 39 00, Fax: +386 1 251 93 85