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The theory of PVD coatings - What is magnetron sputtering?

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Thursday, 9, September 2010

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Prior to the sputtering procedure a vacuum of Engineered Surfaces
less than one ten millionth of an atmosphere
must be achieved. From this point a closely Thermal Spray,
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although it is still only a few ten thousandth of
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When power is supplied to a magnetron a negative voltage of typically -300V or more is applied to the target. This PVD Coating Uptime
negative voltage attracts positive ions to the target surface at speed. Generally when a positive ion collides with atoms at Order Free PM Kit and
the surface of a solid an energy transfer occurs. If the energy transferred to a lattice site is greater than the binding App Notes.
energy, primary recoil atoms can be created which can collide with other atoms and distribute their energy via collision
cascades. A surface atom becomes sputtered if the energy transferred to it normal to the surface is larger than about 3
times the surface binding energy (approximately equal to the heat of sublimation). 2010-09-09
The theory of PVD coatings - What is magnetron sputtering? Page 2 of 3

The sputtering of a target atom

TCO Deposition
Magnetron sputtering - Sputtering is only one result of ion bombardment
Sputtering of a target atom is just one of the possible results of ion bombardment of a surface. The other possibilities are
summarised below. Aside from sputtering the second important process is the emission of secondary electrons from the Sputtered TCO Films
target surface. These secondary electrons enable the glow discharge to be sustained. Solar, FPD and

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Magnetron sputtering - Almost no restriction on target material
The sputter process has almost no restrictions in the target materials, ranging from pure metals where a d.c.-power supply
can be used to semiconductors and isolators which require a r.f.-power supply or pulsed dc. Deposition can be carried out
in either non reactive (inert gas only) or reactive (inert & reactive gas) discharges with single or multi-elemental targets. Carbide Coatings
Wear Resistant
Magnetron sputtering - Magnets enable lower pressures to be used
Carbides, Ceramics,
During the sputter process a magnetic field can be used to trap secondary electrons close to the target. The electrons Pure Metal and Metal
follow helical paths around the magnetic field lines undergoing more ionizing collisions with neutral gaseous near the Alloy Coatings
target than would otherwise occur. This enhances the ionisation of the plasma near the target leading to a higher sputter
rate. It also means that the plasma can be sustained at a lower pressure. The sputtered atoms are neutrally charged and
so are unaffected by the magnetic trap.

The movement of an electron around a magnetic field line

The technical name for this vital invention is the magnetron. Click magnetron to learn more.

To find out how coatings grow on a surface click nucleation and coating growth.

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