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Sputtering

ceramics. by ejecting atoms from such materials and condensing the ejected atoms onto a substrate in a high vacuum environment. Among these is a process called “SPUTTERING” that has become one of the most common ways to fabricate thin films. Sputtering is a physical vapor deposition (PVD) process used for depositing materials onto a substrate.Basic Sputtering Process There are many different ways to deposit materials such as metals. Basic Techniques DC (diode) RF (radio frequency) . and plastics onto a surface (substrate) and to form a thin film.

• The forceful collision of these ions onto the target ejects target atoms into the space. forming a tightly bound atomic layer. they begin to bind to each other at the molecular level. or source of the material desired to be deposited. . • These ejected atoms then travel some distance until they reach the substrate and start to condense into a film. allowing for production of precise layered thin-film structures. • A DC voltage is placed between the target and substrate which ionizes Argon atoms and creates a plasma. typically inert gas ions such as Argon (Ar+).The basic process is as follows: • A target. in the chamber. • As more and more atoms condensed on the substrate. hot gas-like phase consisting of ions and electrons. One or more layers of such atoms can be created at will depending on the sputtering time. These Argon ions are now charged and are accelerated to the anode targe. Electrically neutral Argon atoms are introduced into a vacuum chamber at a pressure of 1 to 10 mTorr. • This plasma is also known as a glow discharge due to the light emitted. is bombarded with energetic ions.

DC Sputtering:  Good for insulating materials  Positive charge builds up on the cathode (target) need 1012 volts to sputter insulators !! RF Sputtering:  avoid charge build up by alternating potential .

plasma path    few collisions line of sight deposition little gas in film many collisions less line of sight deposition gas in film larger grain size fewer grain orientations poorer adhesion smaller grain size many grain orientations better adhesion .Comparison of evaporation and sputtering EVAPORATION low energy atoms high vacuum path    SPUTTERING higher energy atoms low vacuum.

However. the quality of the films tend to be inferior to processes running at higher temperatures. The two most important CVD technologies in MEMS are the Low Pressure CVD (LPCVD) and Plasma Enhanced CVD (PECVD). The product of that reaction is a solid material with condenses on all surfaces inside the reactor. the substrate is placed inside a reactor to which a number of gases are supplied. most PECVD deposition systems can only deposit the material on one side of the wafers on 1 to 4 wafers at a time. . The LPCVD process produces layers with excellent uniformity of thickness and material characteristics. The fundamental principle of the process is that a chemical reaction takes place between the source gases.Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) In this process. The PECVD process can operate at lower temperatures (down to 300° C) thanks to the extra energy supplied to the gas molecules by the plasma in the reactor. Secondly. The main problems with the process are the high deposition temperature (higher than 600°C) and the relatively slow deposition rate. A schematic diagram of a typical LPCVD reactor is shown in the figure below. LPCVD systems deposit films on both sides of at least 25 wafers at a time.