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Electron Beam Evaporation Technique Vs.

Sputtering
Electron beam evaporation (E-Beam evaporation) and sputtering both can be classified into Physical
Vapor Deposition (PVD) category.PVD covers a number of deposition technologies in which material is
released from a source and transferred to the substrate. The two most important technologies are
evaporation and sputtering.
The choice of deposition method (i.e. evaporation or sputtering) may in many cases be arbitrary, and
may depend more on what technology is available for the specific material at the time. In VLSI
fabrication, sputtering technology is widely-used for accomplishing thin films.
Evaporation
In evaporation, the substrate is placed inside a vacuum chamber, in which a target (source) material
to be deposited is also located. The source material is then heated to the point where it starts to boil
and evaporate. This process requires a high vacuum (10 -6 to 10-7 Torr range)to allow the molecules to
evaporate freely in the chamber, and they subsequently condense on all surfaces. This principle is the
same for all evaporation technologies, only the method used to heat (evaporate) the source material
differs. In E-Beam evaporation, a high kinetic energy beam of electrons is directed at the material for
evaporation. Upon impact, the high kinetic energy is converted into thermal energy, heating up and
evaporating the target material, on the premise that the heat produced exceeds the heat lost during
the process. The rate of mass removal from the source material as a result of such evaporation
increases with vapor pressure, which in turn increases with the applied heat. Vapor pressure greater
than 1.5 Pa is needed in order to achieve deposition rates which are high enough for manufacturing
purposes.
Sputtering
Sputtering is a technology in which the material is released from the source at much lower
temperature than evaporation. The substrate is placed in a vacuum chamber with the source material,
named a target, and an inert gas (such as argon) is introduced at low pressure. A gas plasma is struck
using an RF power source, causing the gas to become ionized. The ions are accelerated towards the
surface of the target, causing atoms of the source material to break off from the target in vapor form
and condense on all surfaces including the substrate. As for evaporation, the basic principle of
sputtering is the same for all sputtering technologies. The differences typically relate to the manor in
which the ion bombardment of the target is realized.
Advantages offered by evaporation for PVD
1) high film deposition rates;
2) less substrate surface damage from impinging atoms as the film is being formed, unlike sputtering
that induces more damage because it involves high-energy particles; 3) excellent purity of the film
because of the high vacuum condition used by evaporation;
4) less tendency for unintentional substrate heating.

Disadvantages of using evaporation for PVD

1) more difficult control of film composition than sputtering;


2) absence of capability to do in situ cleaning of substrate surfaces, which is possible in sputter
deposition systems;
3) step coverage is more difficult to improve by evaporation than by sputtering;
4) x-ray damage caused by electron beam evaporation can occur.