Desktop sputtering coater

Desktop sputtering coater
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Sputtering is one of the thin film coating techniques based on the vacuum technology. This technique involves the three consecutive processes; the momentum transfer from high energetic ions of ionized gas to a cathode (Target), the dislodgement of atoms from the Target, and then the atom-by-atom deposition onto a substrate to be coated (anode). This procedure needs a plasma medium as a prerequisite, and what is the best apparent indication of the plasma formation is the so-called glow discharge. The glow discharge occurs because the flow of high energetic electrons in their path toward anode strikes the atoms of gaseous medium. As a result, the gas atoms are stimulated, ionized and generally begin to glow. For onset of glow discharge, a minimum electrical potential is needed to ionize gaseous medium and therefore form plasma. Beside the main application of sputtering for coating, in which the dislodged atoms from the Target get deposited onto the substrate, another application is cleaning and etching those samples that are used as a cathode in the sputtering apparatus. One important advantage of sputtering over other coating techniques is that a variety of materials even those with very high melting point could be used to create thin films on different substrates, which otherwise evaporation or melting of such materials may be sometimes impossible or very costly.
Diode sputtering is the most common sputtering configuration in which a high electrical potential (0.3 to 5kV) is applied between two electrodes placed in a container connected to vacuum pumps. This diodic configuration is the simplest one, and generally used for deposition of thin conductive films on samples for electron microscopy. The sputtering has also other configurations like triadic one, which have been developed to improve deposition rate for the sake of industrial application.
Nearly all sputtering configurations use an external magnetic field for modification of plasma shape and increase in sputtering rate, which in such cases the process is known as Magnetron Sputtering. In magnetron sputtering, the external magnetic field parallel to cathode plate urges the electrons (emitted from the cathode) to move in a spiral trajectory instead of straight path towards the anode. The electrons, therefore, pass longer distance near the cathode, strike and stimulate more gas atoms near the cathode, and thereby generate higher density plasma localized near the cathode. In appearance, the plasma seems to be confined in an area near the cathode, which, in turn, causes the higher sputtering rate. Note that, usually only the ions near the cathode are influenced by the electrical field and take a chance to be accelerated towards the cathode, and thereby incorporated in sputtering processes. So the confinement of plasma near the cathode can help significantly improve sputtering rate, and therefore, deposition rate in magnetron sputtering. The confinement of plasma also enables coating deposition to be conducted in a lower gas pressure. Because of the lower gas pressure, the dislodged atoms from the Target could pass the path towards the substrate (anode) much more freely and successfully, without much collision with interfering particles of gaseous medium, and thereby lead to higher deposition rate. Very often, the sputtering apparatuses employed in industrial scales, use this technique for increase in deposition rate.
The magnetron sputtering is a unique tool to produce a wide variety of conductive coatings on different substrates. Some of the applications are;
  • Fine-grained sputter deposition for high resolution SEM& TEM.
  • Conductive coating on large scale samples (wafers, compact discs, etc.)
  • Metal films using Aluminum, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Gold, Silver, Platinum, Molybdenum, and Titanium for laboratories and industrial processes.
  • Multiple layer systems. Conductive carbon films on specimens for X-ray microanalysis (EDX, WDX)
The Magnetron sputter Coater is a precision high vacuum preparation system and the only instrument to offer the widest range of coating configuration in one single unit. The Magnetron Sputter Coater AFSC and ALSC model are able to coat noble metals - such as Gold (Au), Silver (Ag), Palladium (Pa) and Platinum (Pt) thin films on non-conductive or poorly conductive specimens uniformly and fine-grain size in fast cycle time. More details about the models have been presented in the Table.
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Magnetron sputtering is an innovative way for producing coatings from a large group of material. In fact, every material that could endure the coating chamber condition (i.e. plasma formation, ions bombardment, etc.), is a suitable choice to be used as a coating (Target) or a substrate to be coated. Therefore, by adjusting operational parameters properly, one can generate different internal structures including microstructured, nanostructured, nanocomposites, etc. from a given material type.
  • Ensure the good connection of earth cable
  • In case of using water circulating system for cathodes, the inlet and outlet must be properly provided.
  • The ambient atmosphere must be dust-free as much as possible.
  • Place and use the apparatus at an enough distance from electrical noise-sensitive systems
  • The system operating environment must be in ambient temperature range (15°C to 25°C) in a non-condensing relative humidity of not more than 75%.
  • The ambient temperature must not exceed above 40°C and drop below 4°C.
  • This Equipment must be Earthed and fitted with the correct plug for the country of operation.
  • It is important to note that this equipment must be installed and operated by fully trained competent personnel.
  • Sufficient ventilation is required, and positioning should be out of direct sunlight.
  • For the rotary pump, a single phase AC supply with Earth is required.
  • Be sure the vacuum pump connections are correct. If the vacuum pump is fitted
  • with an ON/OFF switch, ensure that it is left in the 'ON' position as the Instrument
  • will carry out required control.
  • Always remember that before taking the coated sample out of the chamber, the vacuum pump must be turned off. (If user forget to turn off the
  • system the vacuum pump will turn off automatically after 1 hour).
  • Ensure the main electrical power is off during any maintenance and service activities

Product Standard

  • NanoScale Certification

    NanoScale Certification

    Standard Date : 2017/03/08

    Expire Date : 2020/03/07

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