This work deals with a study of the nitriding potential effect on development of the compound layer during the gas nitriding of Armco Fe samples. The gas nitriding experiments were performed in an atmosphere of partially dissociated gas ammonia (NH3) at 520 °C under a nitriding potential varying from 0.25 to 3.5 atm-0.5 during 2 h. Through this experimental work including XRD analysis, optical and SEM observations of the cross-sections of the treated samples, it is shown that the microstructural nature of the compound layer depends upon the nitriding potential value. By use of the inverse problem based on a diffusion model previously published, it was possible to estimate the diffusion coefficient of N in ' iron nitride as a function of the applied nitriding potential. XRD analysis has shown that the compound layer was composed of iron nitride. A linear semi-logarithmic relationship relating the nitriding potential to the diffusion coefficient of nitrogen in iron nitride was also derived.