Magnetron sputtering

Physical depositions of thin films (Growth & Synthesis)

Sputtering evaporation is a physical method for the growth of thin films. It is a high vacuum technology, depending of the type of material to be grown, that allows evaporating a large variety of materials: from simple metals to complex inorganic materials. Films can be grown with highly controlled thickness. The method consists in introducing a gas inside the growth chamber (with the total pressure regulated in the mTorr range) and under applying a high direct or radio frequency voltage (when target is a metal or an insulator respectively) and with a gun (magnetron) to create a plasma. Plasma ionizes the gas, that is then accelerated by the high voltage and impacts on target surface evaporating atoms from the surface. Gas is usually argon, although oxygen or nitrogen can be used for more complex materials. Evaporated atoms are deposited over the surface that the film must be grown. In variance with other physical methods, sputtering technique is highly reproducible and thicknesses can be very well calibrated by the depositing time.