Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-208 Sputter Deposition for Aerospace Applications

This course covers topics of practical importance to those using sputtering to deposit coatings for aerospace applications. It is intended for engineers, scientists and technicians who would like an understanding of the factors that influence product throughput, coating quality, and process robustness and reliability. It begins with a basic description of sputtering and sputtering plasmas and then illustrates the use of various techniques through specific applications. These include coatings for reducing friction and wear, optical coatings for filters and displays, coatings for sensors, and others. The relationships between the sputtering conditions and important film properties - such as microstructure, composition, stress, adhesion and the resulting mechanical, electrical, and optical characteristics - are discussed. The emphasis is on process and hardware considerations rather than the detailed material properties of the coatings.


Topical Outline:
  • A Brief introduction to basic vacuum technology
  • Sputtering plasmas and the nature of the sputtering process
  • Estimating deposition rates and rate limiting factors
  • Cathode geometries and associated film thickness profiles
  • Film composition and compositional uniformity
  • Film nucleation and growth
  • Effects of substrate temperature and energetic particle bombardment
  • Biased sputtering and the use of unbalanced magnetrons
  • Sources of substrate heating
  • rf sputtering of dielectrics from insulating targets
  • The dc, pulsed dc, and ac reactive sputtering of dielectrics
  • Process control methods for reactive sputtering
  • Arcing, disappearing anodes, and other process stability issues
  • Ion beam sputtering
  • High Power Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering (HPPMS or HIPIMS)
Course Details:

1  Sputtering plasmas

  • 1.1  Ionization due to electron impact
  • 1.2  Creation of secondary electrons at the target
  • 1.3  Conditions for a self sustaining glow discharge
  • 1.4  The use of magnetic fields and magnetrons to increase ionization
  • 1.5  Typical magnetron plasma properties
  • 1.6  Magnetron cathode configurations
  • 1.7  Triode sputtering cathodes
  • 1.8  Hollow cathode enhanced discharges 

2  Energy and spatial distribution of sputtered material

  • 2.1  The collision cascade in the target
  • 2.2  Sputter yields
  • 2.3  Energy distribution of sputtered atoms
  • 2.4  The cosine spatial distribution of sputtered atoms
  • 2.5  Distribution of material from round and rectangular cathodes
  • 2.6  Masking to achieve coating uniformity
  • 2.7  Sputtering compound targets

3  Deposition rates and substrate heating

  • 3.1  Dependence of rate on voltage and current
  • 3.2  Indirect and direct target cooling
  • 3.3  Major sources of substrate heating
  • 3.4  Estimate of the energy per sputtered atom

4  Film nucleation and growth

  • 4.1  Nucleation and the critical radius
  • 4.2  Effect of temperature on nucleation and growth
  • 4.3  Effect of surface mobility on nucleation and growth
  • 4.4  Relationship between sputtering conditions and surface mobility
  • 4.5  Structure zone models
  • 4.6  Coating stress and stress measurement
  • 4.7  Relationship between sputtering conditions and stress
  • 4.8  Bias sputtering
  • 4.9  Unbalanced magnetron sputtering 

5  Sputtering insulating materials with rf power

  • 5.1  Why rf power is needed for thick insulating targets
  • 5.2  Nature of the rf discharge
  • 5.3  Sputter yields of insulating compounds

6  Reactive sputtering of insulating materials

  • 6.1  Overview of reactive sputtering
  • 6.2  Process control issues in reactive sputtering
  • 6.2.1 Maintaining correct stoichiometry
  • 6.2.2 Target poisoning and hysteresis
  • 6.2.3 Arcing
  • 6.2.4 Hidden anodes
  • 6.3  Partial pressure vs. flow control in reactive sputtering
  • 6.4  Methods of partial pressure control
  • 6.5  Methods of reducing or eliminating arcing
  • 6.5.1 Passive arc handling
  • 6.5.2 Pulsed dc sputtering
  • 6.5.3 Dual cathode ac sputtering

7  Ion beam sputtering

  • 7.1  Advantages of ion beam sputtering
  • 7.2  Kaufman ion sources
  • 7.3  Dual ion beam sputtering

Instructor: Dr. David A. Glocker, Isoflux (retired)
Dr. David A. Glocker

founded Isoflux Incorporated, a manufacturer of magnetron equipment, in 1993. He has more than 30 years’ experience in thin film research, development, and manufacturing and has taken a number of new processes from laboratory-scale feasibility studies through successful production. He is an inventor or co-inventor of 31 U.S. patents and an author of more than 30 research papers in the areas of sputter source design, plasmas and plasma characteristics, sources of substrate heating in sputtering, and the control of sputtering processes and sputtered film properties. He also is the co-editor of The Handbook of Thin Film Process Technology, a major reference work in the field.

This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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