Sputter deposition is one of the leading methods for engineering high-precision electronic and optoelectronic devices such as hard disks, integrated circuits (ICs), thin-film transistors, low-E glass coatings, semiconductor structures, and more. It is a form of physical vapor deposition (PVD) that relies on a consumable source, known as a sputtering target, to generate a functional coating on the desired substrate.
In this blog post, H.C. Starck Solutions will outline the sputtering target products that we offer for thin film deposition in more detail.
What is Thin Film Deposition?
To understand the importance of the quality of our blanks and finished plates – which are intended for use by sputtering target manufacturers – it is first beneficial to understand thin film deposition in greater depth.
Thin-film deposition refers to a school of advanced engineering techniques used to apply very thin layers of material onto a substrate. These layers, or coatings, are typically on the order of nanometres (nm) or micrometers (μm) in thickness – ranging as low as the atomic scale in specialist cases. Often, thin films are stacked on top of one another to create multi-layer surface coatings with unique electrical, mechanical, or optical qualities. The techniques underlying thin film deposition tend to break down into one of two categories:
- Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)
- Physical vapor deposition (PVD)
Outlining Sputter Deposition
Sputter deposition is one of the most widely employed thin film deposition techniques based on the principles of PVD. It takes place under vacuum conditions in a chamber containing a sputtering target and a substrate. The void between these two is usually filled with an inert process gas such as argon (Ar).
At the atomic scale, sputtering refers to the forceful ejection of surface molecules from a target material (i.e. the sputtering target), which can be achieved using one of numerous different techniques. Among the most common involves the use of an ion beam – also known as magnetron sputtering – which bombards the surface of the sputtering target with a beam of magnetically-confined electrons. Material released from the sputtering target travels at a very high velocity towards the substrate. By controlling the energy of these incident atoms and their bombardment angles, very fine uniform coatings can be readily achieved.
Sputtering Target Materials from H.C. Starck Solutions
Sputtering targets are available in a wide range of different materials (alloys, ceramics, metals, etc.) to suit the varied needs of thin-film process engineers. At H.C. Starck Solutions, we provide a range of high-quality feedstock materials to meet these demands, including:
- Tantalum (Ta): Our electron beam melted (EBM) tantalum boasts inherently high purity with proven performance in various high vacuum settings.
- Molybdenum (Mo): DynaMoTM sputtering targets exhibit fantastic corrosion resistance and excellent etch characteristics for improving touch screen panel (TSP) reliability.
- Niobium (Nb): NB Standard is likewise suited for TSP applications, particularly for barrier, capping, and conducting layers in display devices.
This is just a small selection of the materials available from H.C. Starck Solutions for sputtering target applications. Success or failure of thin-films depends on quality at the smallest possible scales. That is why it is important to guarantee chemical purity and metallurgical uniformity when choosing a sputtering target material for your thin film process.
H.C. Starck Solutions guarantees a minimum of 99.95% purity in all our sputtering target materials, alongside the chemical and metallurgical uniformity of all our metals and alloys. This will help you ensure precision and reliability throughout your thin-film processing chain. If you would like more information about the metals and alloys that we supply for sputtering target manufacturing, simply contact us today with any questions.