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Ensuring long term stability of process and film parameters during target lifetime in reactive magnetron sputtering

: Bartzsch, H.; Frach, P.; Goedicke, K.; Böcher, B.; Gottfried, C.


Surface and coatings technology 150 (2002), Nr.1, S.88-94
ISSN: 0257-8972
International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films <28, 2001, San Diego/Calif.>
Fraunhofer FEP ()
reactive magnetron sputtering; target lifetime; metallic target; inert-reactive gas mixture; arcing; pulse sputtering; process control; target erosion; homogeneous film property; stationary sputtering; energetic substrate bombardment; deposition rate; film thickness

Reactive magnetron sputtering of a metallic target in a mixture of inert and reactive gas is now widely applied for compound deposition at high rates. It has been shown that problems due to arcing and the hysteresis of the process can be overcome by pulse sputtering and appropriate process control. Another important aspect is the shift of deposition parameters and reactive working point due to the target erosion. For industrial application compensation of the shift is desired to achieve constant deposition conditions and homogeneous film properties during target life. For this different possibilities exist. In the paper reactive sputtering of alumina films using stationary sputtering with the Double Ring Magnetron (DRM) is reported. Ongoing target erosion is compensated by using the movable magnet systems of the DRM to keep magnetic field strength at the target constant during target erosion. This technique has the advantage of constant electric discharge parameters during target life and therefore ensures constant energetic substrate bombardment. Results with respect to constancy of deposition rate, film thickness distribution and film properties are discussed. Furthermore process stability and efficacy of the hidden anode are evaluated throughout target life.