The Various Sputtering Methods

SputterSummary: Here is some insight on the various sputtering deposition methods.

There are a variety of sputtering, or ion beam etching, methods that can be utilized by engineers to provide a solid and equally-composite thin film on a substrate. Here is a list of some of the different types of sputter deposition that are used today.

Reactive Sputtering

Reactive sputtering deposits film that is formed by a chemical reaction between the target and the chosen gas within the vacuum chamber. This means that any PVD system – physical vapor deposition – would be preferable. Oxide and nitride films are commonly created during this method. One of the most important parameters to consider when performing this is film stoichiometry for refractive and stress purposes. One example of what reactive sputtering is used for is in optoelectronics and solar cells.

Ion Beam Sputtering

Ion beam sputtering is external to the source of the ion. There is no magnetic field for the source to work which makes this fundamentally unique in comparison to the other sputtering methods. The advantage of using ion beams as a deposition technique is that they can be controlled independently. One application of ion beam sputtering is thin-film heads for disk drives.

Ion Beam Assisted Deposition

Ion beam assisted deposition utilizes the exposure of the substrate to a secondary ion beam. The catch, however, is that there is a significantly lower amount of power which makes it sensitive to tool types. One use of this type of deposition is to deposit carbon on a substrate in a diamond-like fashion. Diamond films were applied on turbine blades by NASA using this method.


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