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32, Cathodic Arc Plasma Deposition 324 Introduction 32-1 322. Cathodic Ate Plasma Deposition Process 32-1 323. Cathodic Are Sources 32-3 824. Cathodic Arc Emission Characteristics 32-3 325, Microdroplets 324 H. Randhawa 326 Recent Developments 32 Vac Te Stes, ne References 327 32.1 Introduction ‘The cathodic are plasma deposition (CAPD) method of thin film deposition belongs to a family of ion plating processes that includes evaporative ion plating™ and sputter ion plating.** However, the CAPD. process involves deposition species that are highly ionized and posses higher ion energies than other ion plating processes. All the ion plating processes have been developed to take advantage of the special process development features and to meet particular requirements for coatings, such as good adhesion, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and decorative properties. ‘The cathodic are technique, having proved to be extremely successful in cutting tool applications, is now finding much wider ranging applications inthe deposi decorative coatings, and architectural and solar coatings. on of erosion resistance, corrosion resistance, 32.2 Cathodic Arc Plasma Deposition Process In the CAPD process, material is evaporated by the action of one or more vacuum arcs, the source ‘material being the cathode in the are circuit (Figure 32.1) The basic coating system consists ofa vacuum, chamber, a cathode and an are power supply, an arc ignitor, an anode, and substrate bias power supply. Ares are sustained by voltages in the range of 15 to 50 V, depending on the source material; typical arc currents in the range of 30 to 400 A are employed. When high currents are used, an are spot splits into multiple spots on the cathode surface, the number depending on the cathode material. This is illustrated in Figure 32.2 for a titanium source. In this case, an average arc curten/are spot is about 75 A. The arc spots move randomly on the surface ofthe cathode, typically at speeds of the order of tens of meters per second. The are spot motion and speed can be further influenced by external means such as magnetic fields, gas pressures during coatings, and electrostatic fields. Materials removal from the source occurs asa series of rapid flash evaporation events as the are spot ‘migrates over the cathode surface. Are spots, which are sustained as a result of the material plasma generated by the arc itself, can be controlled with appropriate boundary shields and/or magnetic fields 321 32.2. Coatings Technology Handbook, Third Edition \ inl 6 | ac ToPump = le | to hrode coe NS | » FIGURE 32.1 Schematic of «cathode ate deposition system, FIGURE 32.2. Number of arc spots on the titanium cathode arc source a a function of arc current. Cathodic Arc Plasma Deposition 323 CAPD is markedly different {rom the physical vapor deposition process. Some of its characteristic features are as follows: 1. The material plasma is generated by one or more ate spots 2. A high percentage (30 to 100%) of evaporation material is ionized. 3, The ions exist in multiple charge states (eg, in case of Ti, Ti, T2", TP", ete). 4. The ions possess very high kinetic energies (10 to 100 eV). ‘These characteristics of CAPD result in deposits that are of superior quality in comparison to other plasma processes, Some of these advantages are as follows: 1. Good quality films over a wide range of deposition conditions (eg, stoichiometric reached films with enhanced adhesion and film density can be obtained over a wide range of reactive gas pressures and evaporation rates) High deposition rates for metals alloys, and compounds with excellent coating uniformity Low substrate temperature Retention of alloy composition from source to deposit Ease of producing reacted compound films 32.3 Cathodic Arc Sources A schematic cross section of a cathodic are source is shown as an inset in Figure 32.1, in a photograph. of a typical large area source. The are source comprises a cathode (source material), an anode, an arc ignitor, and a means of are confinement. ‘The method of arc confinement is a key factor in ate source design and configuration. Cathodes using ‘magnetic fields or boundary shields are limited to small sizes of the order of a few inches in diameter. ‘This imits the uniformity attained from such sources. I is generally necessary to use a multitude of such, sources to obtain a reasonable coating quality. Arc sources employing confinement passive boarders (Figure 22.3) with predetermined electronic characteristics may be built much larger and over a wide range of sizes. Such cathode sources provide good uniformity over a wide range of substrate sizes in various industrial applications. Typical thickness uniformity observed using an 8 in. x 24 in, titanium, cathode at a source to substrate distance of 10 in. was approximately 1096 over a flat area measuring 5 in, x 20 in, Furthermore, the target utilization of such are sources exceeds 70% — much higher in comparison to the magnetron sputtering source (N 40%). 32.4 Cathodic Arc Emission Characteristics ‘The cathodic arc resultsina plasma discharge within the material vapor released from the cathode surface. ‘The are spot is typically afew micrometers in size and carries current densities as high as 10 A/yny. This high current density causes flash evaporation of the source material, and the resulting evaporant consists of electrons, ions, neutral vapor atoms, and mierodroplets. Emissions from the cathode spots are illus: trated in Figute 32.4. The electrons are accelerated toward the cloud of positive ions. The emissions from, the cathode spots split into a number of spots. The average current carried per spot depends on the nature of the cathode material. The extreme physical conditions present within cathode spots ate listed. in Table 32.1 tis ikely that almost 100% of the material may be ionized within the cathode spot region. These ions are ejected in a direction almost perpendicular to the cathode surface. The microdroplets, however, have been postulated to leave the cathode surface at angles up to about 30° above the cathode plane. The ‘microdroplet emission isa result of extreme temperatures and forces that are present within emission, craters, The microdroplet emission is greater for metals with low boiling points, Figure 32.5 shows such results for copper, chromium, and tantalum,