Corrosion-resistance behavior of titanium carbon nitride (Ti-C-N) and titanium niobium carbon nitride (Ti-Nb-C-N) coatings deposited onto Si(1 0 0) and AISI 4140 steel substrates via r.f. magnetron sputtering process was analyzed. The coatings in contact with a solution of sodium chloride at 3.5% were studied by Tafel polarization curves and impedance spectroscopy methods (EIS). Variations of the bias voltage were carried out for each series of deposition to observe the influence of this parameter upon the electrochemical properties of the coatings. The introduction of Nb in the ternary Ti-C-N film was evaluated via X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. The structure was characterized by using Raman spectroscopy to identify ternary and quaternary compounds. Surface corrosion processes were characterized using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). XRD results show conformation of the quaternary phase, change in the strain of the film, and lattice parameter as the effect of the Nb inclusion. The main Raman bands were assigned to interstitial phases and "impurities" of the coatings. Changes in Raman intensities were attributed to the incorporation of niobium in the Ti-C-N structure and possibly to resonance enhancement. Finally, the corrosion data obtained for Ti-C-N were compared with the results of corrosion tests of Ti-Nb-C-N coating. The results obtained showed that the incorporation of niobium to Ti-C-N coatings led to an increase in the corrosion-resistance. On another hand, an increase in the bias voltage led to a decrease in the corrosion-resistance for both Ti-C-N and Ti-Nb-C-N coatings. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.