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Plasmaterials - Plasma Technology for the Thin Film Industry, including sputtering targets, crucible liners & evaporation materials.
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Plasmaterial Blog
01
September
2017
In the past, we have discussed numerous forms of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) technologies including Sputtering (r.f. and DC), Resistance Evaporation, Electron Beam Evaporation, and Pulsed Sputter Deposition. In this article I would like to review Cathodic Arc Deposition. read more
01
July
2017
Another form of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) is referred to as Ion Beam Deposition or Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS). Unlike conventional magnetron sputtering, where ions are generated in plasma within a cathode assembly, Ion Beam Sputtering employs a target that is external to the ion beam source. read more
01
May
2017
Here I would like to discuss a slightly different form of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) in which a target anode material is bombarded by a stream of electrons that are generated from a tungsten filament. read more
01
March
2017
Evaporation, or more specifically, Resistance Thermal Evaporation, involves the heating of a material within a vacuum environment. read more
01
January
2017
In the last couple of writings we described how powder metallurgy can be used to fabricate sputtering targets by sintering the individual particles of a specified composition into a solid shape. Additionally we explained some of the short comings associated with the simple Hot Pressing of certain types of materials and geometries. read more
01
December
2016
In our most recent BLOG we briefly described the process of sintering ceramic type sputtering target materials via. the powder metallurgical process referred to as sintering. We further described the consolidation steps associated with this manufacturing process referred to as simple Hot Pressing. read more
01
November
2016
Awhile back (January 2016) we discussed a brief but fundamental description of what the basic processes are associated with the production of elemental and metal alloy sputtering targets. At that time we promised to address the analogous process of how ceramic, or complex composite material, sputtering targets are prepared. That time has now come. read more
01
October
2016
There are many reasons for bonding a sputtering target to an associated backing plate. In essence, all of these reasons basically relate to the physical properties associated with the composition of the sputtering target under consideration and the choice of the backing plate material to be utilized in the target assembly. read more
01
September
2016
With the proper equipment it is possible to co-deposit multi component materials utilizing independent cathode assemblies depositing simultaneously. More and more of our customers are now utilizing variances of this technique to develop a wide range of compositions in a minimum amount of time and at a minimum amount of cost. read more
01
August
2016
It is often necessary to convert from At. % to Wt. % or from Wt. % to At. %. This can be done very easily using the atomic weight (At. Wt.) or molecular weight (Mol. Wt.) of the constituents. By looking up the molecular weights of the individual elemental (or molecular) constituents to as many significant figures as desired, it is possible to make the simple conversions. read more
01
July
2016
Thin film alloys or composites of various compositions can be deposited via Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) processing in a variety of different ways. Probably the most common practice is to simply sputter the alloy or composite material from a homogeneous alloy or composite of the material composition which is to be desired in the resultant film. read more
01
June
2016
This year has been busy so far visiting customers and attending a number of Trade Shows around the world and to my surprise, albeit based on a limited number of direct conversations with various technical personnel associated with a number of different companies, I have found that the thin film photovoltaic market is far from dead. read more
01
May
2016
Recently we received an enquiry as to the reason behind the changes in deposition rate during the life of a Sputtering Target. Negatively charged electrons in the plasma are repelled by the negatively charged current applied to the sputtering target surface (like charges repel) while the positively charged ions are drawn toward it (opposite charges attract). read more
01
April
2016
Metal oxide films can be sputtered from either an elemental metallic (M) target or from a metal oxide (MOx) target. However, as one might expect, the deposition parameters are significantly different depending on the starting material composition. However, it is certainly possible to produce high quality stoichiometrically correct metal oxide resultant films either way. read more
01
March
2016
I really think that we have beaten this issue to death however, almost weekly, we get a customer request asking us to explain how best to condition or "Break In" a new sputtering target and what is the maximum power level that they could apply to it. read more
01
February
2016
There is still a bit of "Magic" associated with sputtering, but how the resultant films comprise the same compositional homogeneity as the starting target composition for a given alloy or composite material is not one of them. read more
01
January
2016
There are a number of different ways to manufacture sputtering targets. Depending on the composition of the target being considered for production it is necessary to choose the proper method of consolidation that best suits the metallurgical criteria required for the finished product. read more
01
December
2015
As most of our customers around the world are well aware, the process of sputtering involves charged particles, or ions, (gaseous molecules with an outer electron stripped off containing a positive charge) bombarding negatively charged sputtering target atoms or molecules where the surface charge is derived from an electrical component combined with a magnetic field. read more
01
November
2015
There are a lot of reasons why there may be an arcing problem during the plasma deposition process during sputtering. During the sputtering process a gas, typically argon unless a reactive deposition is required, is transformed from a neutral state or insulating state to a charged or conductive state. read more
01
October
2015
Recently a customer asked about continuously running an SiO2 Sputtering Target and specifically concerns about arcing. read more
01
September
2015
Just a few things to mention here regarding the proper procedural handling of sputtering targets and evaporation materials. Most deposition materials are fairly robust but, depending on the specific composition or Stoichiometry, some can be quite fragile, some can be quite brittle and some can be quite toxic. read more
01
August
2015
In our last month's Blog I talked a bit about the proper operating pressures for plasma depositions under various working conditions but I left out one rather important aspect for all vacuum process equipment. What I didn't talk about is ground potential and how to properly ground the vacuum system. read more
01
July
2015
It seems silly to me but some of the most basic things in sputter deposition technology keep coming up in discussions with our extended customer base around the world. I cannot possibly address all of "these issues here in the Blog section of Plasmaterials.com but maybe it makes sense to touch on at least a few of these topics. Maybe I can make a mini "Blog Series" over the next several months to touch on some of these issues.read more
01
June
2015
The issue that I am trying to address here is a customer's request for information on the proper procedure on how to precondition and operate an IGZO i.e. In2O3/Ga2O3/ZnO 1:1:1: At% sputtering target configuration with a standard (extended) Semicore Equipment, Inc's. 4.75" By 22" magnetically enhanced cathode assembly.read more
01
May
2015
"Arcing" is quite often an issue with any sputtering process and can lead to disastrous results if not properly maintained or, more preferably, eliminated. read more
01
April
2015
At the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Conference in San Francisco the other day an attendee stopped by our Trade Show Booth in the Exhibition Hall at the Moscone Center where we had on display a multi piece linear target bonded to a copper backing plate and asked why stray material didn't sputter out from the "gap" between the individual tiles and contaminate the resultant films?read more
01
March
2015
Just a quick note to our customers out there, and potential customers, to consider the reclamation value of the "Spent Target" and scrap material when calculating the overall cost of depositing Thin Films when utilizing targets containing precious metals.read more
01
February
2015
Quite often we are asked, "Does this target require a backing plate". Unfortunately, sometimes we are not asked, even when we should be.read more
01
January
2015
The issue of how to condition or "Break In" a new sputtering target to prepare it for continuous use during plasma deposition has come up numerous times over the years, so I thought I should probably address it here once and for all. read more
01
December
2014
We recently had an interesting question from a student at one of the local universities. The student wanted to know what differences he might expect if he were to change from evaporating Aluminum in his Electron Beam Source to Gold when depositing on to a plastic substrate? read more
01
November
2014
One of our customers described a situation where the current and the voltage in the plasma became unstable when depositing a highly conductive elemental metallic sputtering target with a magnetically enhanced cathode assembly which had been in continuous operation for over ten years. The current in the plasma had shot up and the voltage had fallen off. They also experienced severe arching in the plasma between the cathode assembly to ground potential causing the DC power supply to shut down and restart sporadically. read more
01
October
2014
The question was recently asked if rhenium needs a crucible liner for use in an electron beam evaporation system? And, if so, what would be the recommended liner?read more
01
September
2014
A customer recently asked us about the index of refraction of their Silicon Nitride Thin Films:read more
01
August
2014
Recently a customer requested information about the correct storage procedures for Barium and Cerium:read more
01
July
2014
A customer recently asked for a Carbon target appropriate for use in "High Power Pulse Magnetron Sputtering"read more
01
June
2014
Recently a customer was having some process issues with E-Beam Evaporation of Molybdenum:read more
01
May
2014
The other day a student inquired whether it would be better to vacuum cast a Ruthenium sputtering target or sinter it.read more
01
April
2014
A customer was recently asking about "spitting" when using E-Beam Evaporation for Oxide materials. While different types of materials are more likely to "spit" than others, generally "Spitting" can usually be resolved by proper rise and soak times.read more
01
April
2014
A customer was recently asking about Antimony Doped Oxide used for transparent conductive coatings. Like other doped metal oxides used as transparent conductive coatings, antimony doped tin oxide (ATO) is neither as conductive as tin doped indium oxide (ITO) or as transparent. read more
01
March
2014
Question: Recently we had a student ask us why he was unable to maintain a plasma when trying to sputter a new boron nitride target with an rf generator power supply. read more
01
March
2014
Question: Recently a customer asked why indium is typically used to bond sputtering targets to backing plates since it melts at such a low temperature and could result in the target de-bonding at high power densities.
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