HiPIMS-based Novel Deposition Processes for Thin Films

Sammanfattning: In this research, high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) based new deposition processes are introduced to address; the issue of low degree of ionization of C in magnetron sputtering discharges, and the difficulty encountered in thin film deposition on complex-shaped surfaces. The issue of low degree of C ionization is addressed by introducing a new strategy which is based on promoting the electron impact ionization ofC by increasing the electron temperature in the plasma discharge using Ne, instead of conventionally used Ar. The Ne-based HiPIMS process provides highly ionized C fluxes which are essential for the synthesis of high-density and sp3 rich amorphous carbon (a-C) thin films such as diamond-like carbon (DLC) and tetrahedral a-C (ta-C). The feasibility of coating complex-shaped surfaces is demonstrated by using the dual-magnetron approach in an open-field (magnetic field of the magnetrons) configuration and performing sideways deposition of Ti films. The HiPIMS-based open-field configuration process enhances the sideways transport of the sputtered flux — an effect which is observed in the case of HiPIMS.The characterization of the Ne-HiPIMS discharge using a Langmuir probe and mass spectrometry shows that it provides an increase in the electron temperature resulting in an order of magnitude decrease in the mean ionization length of the sputtered C as compared to the conventional Ar-HiPIMS discharge. The C1+ ion energy distribution functions exhibit the presence of an energetic C1+ ion population and a substantial increase in the total C1+ ion flux. The higher C1+ ion flux facilitates the growth of sp3 rich carbon films with mass densities, measured by x-ray reflectometry, reaching as high as approx. 2.8 gcm-3.The dual-magnetron open-field configuration process is operated in DCMS as well as in HiPIMS modes. The plasma characterization, performed by Langmuir probe measurements and optical emission spectroscopy, shows that the plasma density in the Ti-HiPIMS discharge is higher than that of the Ti-DCMS discharge. This results in the higher ionized fraction of the sputtered Ti in the case of HiPIMS. The film uniformity and the deposition rate of the film growth, obtained by employing scanning electron microscopy, demonstrate that the sideways deposition approach can be used for depositing thin films on complex-shaped surfaces.