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Learn about vacuum sputtering and thin film evaporation technologies.

Confocal Cathode Sputtering

conforcal cathode sputteringAn introduction to the confocal method of magnetron sputtering that allows serial and co-sputtering of materials in the production of thin films.


Confocal sputtering is the technique of arranging magnetrons within a vacuum chamber in such a way that multiple materials can be applied onto the substrate without breaking vacuum.  Confocal sputtering also allows the user to co-sputter, or to create a film of two or more materials at once.  This method is popular for research and development tools and for small scale batch productions.


For conventional top down sputtering, only one material will be able to be sputtered at a time.  This is because of the geometric relation that the magnetron has with the substrate.  Generally when sputtering in this way, the target material must be larger than the substrate to yield acceptable film uniformity. …

Thin Film Deposition Control By Quartz Crystal Monitor Tooling Factor

Diagram of Thermal Evaporation Process

Diagram of
Thermal Evaporation Process

Thin Film Deposition is a vacuum technology for applying coatings of pure materials to the surface of various objects. The coatings, also called films, are usually in the thickness range of angstroms to microns and can be a single material, or can be multiple materials in a layered structure. This paper discusses the basic principles of thickness and rate control by use of quartz crystal monitoring.

One major class of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)  techniques is Thermal Evaporation, which involves heating a solid material inside a high vacuum chamber, and taking it to a temperature which produces some vapor pressure. Commonly used techniques include Electron Beam (E-beam) and Resistive Evaporation. Inside the vacuum. even a relatively low vapor pressure is sufficient to raise a vapor cloud inside the vacuum deposition chamber. This evaporated material condenses on surfaces in the chamber as a coating or “Thin film”. This method, including the general type of chamber designs commonly used for it, is an excellent candidate for successful control of rate and thickness through the use of quartz crystals. …

Advantages of Small Chamber Confocal Sputtering Equipment for R&D

Small chamber confocal sputtering systemOne popular method of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) is Sputtering, which has numerous product applications. Whereas commercial Sputter systems are often geared to large scale production volume of established processes, there is also a need for smaller scale sputtering systems for research and development where versatility is generally more important than volume throughput. These same smaller sputtering systems can also serve for lower volume initial production.

This paper will discuss some of the features and capabilities that can be available in smaller Sputter systems geared to low volume work such as research and development, in particular the use of a confocal arrangement of multiple targets around the perimeter of a circular rotating substrate stage, all angled in toward it. …

What are Planar Magnetrons in PVD Coatings?

magnetron sputtering in PVD coatingsThe Planar Magnetron is, in essence, a classic “diode” mode sputtering cathode with the addition of a permanent magnet array behind the cathode. This magnet array is arranged so that the magnetic field is normal to the electric field in a closed path and forms a boundary “tunnel” which traps electrons near the surface of the target. This electron trapping improves the efficiency of gas ion formation and constrains the discharge plasma, allowing higher current at lower gas pressure and achieves a higher sputter deposition rate for PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coatings. …

Semicore Equipment, Inc. Commits to Alternative Energy Development

Recent studies show that nanotechnology is making the Alternative Energy equipment market at least 250 times the size of the famous California Gold Rush – and that opportunity will last for generations rather than be a one-time historical event.

Semicore suggests that everyone who is nano-tech oriented should be looking seriously at Alternative Energy technologies for financial; if not environmental reasons. …