Pulsed DC Sputtering
Magnetron sputtering using pulsed DC power delivery is important for processes which are prone to arcing. Reactive sputter deposition processes – in which a metal target is sputtered in a background of reactive gas – and processes which involve sputtering of higher impedance materials – such as transparent conductive oxides – are all susceptible to arcing with a DC power delivery system.
An insulating surface at the face of the target leads to charge accumulation which will eventually be dissipated in the form of an arc. Droplets of material which are evaporated during the arc can deposit onto the substrate surface, leading to undesirable film properties and performance. Pulsed-DC power delivery is an excellent way to minimize or eliminate arcing during a reactive process. During the pulsed-DC process, a negative bias is applied at frequencies ranging from a few to several hundred kHz; between pulses, a positive ‘reverse’ bias is applied to remove any built-up charge that has accumulated on the surface of the target. Pulsed DC magnetron sputtering is recommended for all reactive DC sputtering processes
Pulsed DC magnetron sputtering is available in a variety of source configurations and compatible with many of Angstrom’s process control capabilities and advanced fixturing options.
Radio frequency (RF) power can also be used for sputter deposition of insulating target materials.
Aeres, Angstrom’s advanced process control software, has been specifically configured with features and capabilities unique to high performance DC magnetron sputter deposition. Click here to learn more.
For a background overview of magnetron sputter deposition, or to continue exploring other topics related to sputtering, please click the links below.