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Plasma stabilization and structure formation during reactive sputtering of metal oxides

: Severin, D.; Wuttig, M.; Kappertz, O.; Nyberg, T.; Pflug, A.; Siemers, M.

Aegerter, M.A.; Kirchhoff, V. ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik -FEP-, Dresden:
Advanced Coatings for Large-Area or High-Volume Products. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics : June 18-22, 2006, Dresden, Germany
Dresden, 2006
International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics (ICCG) <6, 2006, Dresden>
Fraunhofer IST ()

The reactive sputter deposition of transparent metal oxides suffers frequently from the undesirable abrupt transition between the metallic and the compound mode. This transition is often accompanied by hysteresis effects. The oxidation of the target's surface in the compound mode furthermore leads to a low deposition rate. Finally a high bombardment of the growing film with negatively charged oxygen ions is encountered which can reduce the film quality. We show by experimental and theoretical studies that the additon of nitrogen in the plasma gas leads to supplanting of oxygen by nitrogen on the target's surface and therefore to a smoother transition to the compound mode, a higher deposition rate and a reduced bombardment of the film with oxygen ions. Nevertheless, the nitrogen incorporation into the film is very small. By controlling the nitrogen addition it is therefore possible to tailor films with desired structural and opticla properties.