How To Properly Handle PVD Materials
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. First of all, Plasmaterials, Inc. highly recommends that all persons involved with the handling of ANY specific material first read and then follow the safety procedures listed in the Material Safety Data Sheet or Sheets (MSDS) associated with any given composition. If you do not have one for any specific material or composition, please contact your Plasmaterials, Inc. Sales Engineer or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to provide the required documentation free of charge. Given the infinite possible combinations of elemental materials, all such variations have not been studied and analyzed for specific effects and possible reactions when combined together in various amounts. In such cases, when a specific MSDS is not available, it is advisable to review the elemental constituent MSDS sheets and extrapolate the effects based on the associated multiple constituents.
Plasmaterials, Inc. packages most products in vacuum sealed polypropylene wrapping enclosures. This prevents moisture and/or air from possibly contaminating or reacting with the product. After opening the product from this protective outer layer the material should be handled with some form of protective gloves (latex, cotton, lint free, etc.) to protect the material from reacting with moisture from the hand as well as protecting the operator from possible physical harm or reaction. If necessary wear a respirator or mask if the material to be used is toxic.
If the material is something that readily decomposes or disassociates on contact with air (oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, water vapor, etc.) make certain to store the target in a vacuum desiccators or controlled environment from the time it arrives until it is ready to load into the chamber for use. Many ceramic, or powder metallurgical product materials, will simply crumble back into a disassociated powder or crack due to the expansion/contraction effects when reacting to the environment.
After use in the deposition process such highly reactive products should be handled with extreme care, again for operator safety reasons as well as to prevent any possible damage to the target itself. Depending on the specific composition of the material being used, it is advised to backfill the chamber after the deposition process with an inert gas that will protect the surface of the target as well as provide a protective layer over the various surfaces of the deposition chamber and other associated reactive surfaces. Again, care should be taken to properly protect both the operator and the target material after opening the chamber through protective clothing (gloves, mask, respiratory, etc.) and to immediately place the used target back into a non-reactive environment until required again for future use.