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[en] Highlights: • Novel nanocomposite thin films consisting of nanocrystalline chromium embedded in an amorphous chromium carbide matrix are reported for the first time. • The novel nanocomposite films show ultra low nanowear and a relatively high hardness of around 22 GPa. • The nanocomposite films show a strong correlation between the macro and nano-tribological properties. - Abstract: In this work, we report the first observation of novel nanocomposite thin films consisting of nanocrystalline chromium embedded in an amorphous chromium carbide matrix (nc-Cr/a-CrC) with relatively high hardness (∼22,3 GPa) and ultra low nanowear. The films were deposited onto silicon substrates using a magnetic filtered cathodic arc deposition system at various negative bias voltages, from 50 to 450 V. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) suggested the co-existence of chromium and chromium carbide phases, while high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) confirmed the presence of the nc-Cr/a-CrC structure. The friction coefficient measured with the ball-on disk technique and the nanowear results showed a strong correlation between the macro and nano-tribological properties of the samples. These novel nanocomposite films show promising properties as solid lubricant and wear resistant coatings with relatively high hardness, low friction coefficient and ultra low nanowear.