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High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering

High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS)

 

Mustang Vacuum Systems (MVS) has significant experience in the manufacture of industrial scale PVD deposition chambers comprising large area HIPIMS cathodes capable of delivering a wide range of uniquely structured hard, tribological coatings for enhanced component wear resistance and performance.

In 2005 & 2007, MVS was the first commercial organization in North America to receive and utilize power supplies (Chemfilt/ Sinex and Huettinger respectively) for industrial HIPIMS sputtering applications. Since that date significant progress and R&D has led to its routine specification in a variety of metallic and ceramic commercial coating applications.

The technique applies very high power density pulses (>1000Wcm -2 , at selectable pulse duration 50-200 µ s and frequency 100-500Hz) to a magnetron cathode to produce exceptionally high plasma densities of the order of 10 19 m -3 or greater. Such pulsed power densities enable significantly higher levels ionization (up to approx. 80%) of the metallic species liberated from the target surface than typically found in conventional magnetron sputtering processes (approx. 1-2%).

REF. Helmersson et al, Thin Solid Films, 513, 1-2, 2006, 1-24.

 

These characteristics can be used to produce significant changes in film density and preferred growth direction / orientation. HIPIMS films exhibit extremely smooth surfaces without the creation of excessive radiant heating or macro-particle incorporation typically found when using arc evaporation sources. This leads to dense, adherent films even at very low substrate temperature that are free from macro-growth defects.