Understanding Plasma Sputtering: A Brief Overview

In summary, plasma sputtering is a technique used to produce monolayers of atoms from a solid target. The technique is quite simple, involving a cathode and an anode. The cathode is bombarded from impacting ions from the anode and atoms from the cathode are 'spluttered' out. However, without using any chemical precursor to produce a natural reaction (such as that in atomic-layer deposition), I do not know how such a technique can produce monolayers of film. All you're doing is causing the sputtered atoms/molecules to be deposited onto a substrate - hardly a controllable process to produce monolayers.
  • #1
Jayse_83
16
0
What is plasma sputtering??

Hi,

I've got a undergrad exam coming up and i can't describe the process of plasma sputtering :cry: , can't find much on the web .. any help would be greatly appreciated
 
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  • #2
Jayse_83,

How about if we split the work? You tell us what a plasma is, and we'll tell you what plasma sputtering is.
 
  • #3
hey, thanks for the offer but i think I've figured it out now!
 
  • #4
Jayse_83 said:
hey, thanks for the offer but i think I've figured it out now!
Come back here, you! Now that you've got me all curious about this, don't you dare be buggering off without telling me the answer!
 
  • #5
lol! ok its for a nanophysics course and its a method of producing monolayers of atoms. The technique is quite simple, involving a cathode (this is made from the material you wish the monolayer to be made from) and an anode. The cathode is bombared from impacting ions from the anode and atoms from the cathode are 'spluttered' out ... sorry if its not in detail, but that's all i need to know !
 
  • #6
Jayse_83 said:
lol! ok its for a nanophysics course and its a method of producing monolayers of atoms. The technique is quite simple, involving a cathode (this is made from the material you wish the monolayer to be made from) and an anode. The cathode is bombared from impacting ions from the anode and atoms from the cathode are 'spluttered' out ... sorry if its not in detail, but that's all i need to know !

I'm not sure if the "name has been changed to protect the innocent", but in thin-film fabrication, this technique is typically known as DC sputtering or, if a more sophisticated method is employed, an AC magnetron sputtering.

However, without using any chemical precursor to produce a natural reaction (such as that in atomic-layer deposition), I do not know how such a technique can produce monolayer of film. All you're doing is causing the sputtered atoms/molecules to be deposited onto a substrate - hardly a controllable process to produce monolayers.

Zz.
 
  • #7
Jayse_83 said:
sorry if its not in detail, but that's all i need to know!
Okay, got it now. I wasn't familiar with that term. The closest thing that crossed my mind was the nasty little explosions that you occassionaly get while arc welding. The thing that you're referring to is what I've known of as 'atomic deposition'. It's like the atomic-level equivalent of the plasma coating that we use for 'painting' metallic objects, or electroplating.

ZapperZ said:
All you're doing is causing the sputtered atoms/molecules to be deposited onto a substrate - hardly a controllable process to produce monolayers.
I wonder... if the deposited atoms have a very high affinity for the substrate and a high dislike for each other, wouldn't they tend to avoid piling up?
 
  • #8
Danger said:
I wonder... if the deposited atoms have a very high affinity for the substrate and a high dislike for each other, wouldn't they tend to avoid piling up?

Substrate mismatch is a BIG issue in any deposition. So your choice of substrate is crucial. For example, the common substrate such as MgO and sapphire, have a huge lattice mismatch when you try to deposite GaN. As soon as you take it out, you'll see flaking and cracking on the film.

Now I've never heard of the situation that you described. Remember that in sputtering, you are sputtering out of a solid target of the material already (unless you're doing reactive sputtering or making an alloy). So you're already starting off with a material that, presumably, has no such hatred to itself. Furthermore, the deposition is typically done at high temperatures. The substrate usually is heated to maybe 500 C. This allows the sputtered gas that landed on the substrate (and the already formed film) to have enough thermal energy to rearrange themselves into the most stable configuration. So films formed this way tend to have less internal stress and are less prone to cracking.

Zz.
 
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  • #9
ZapperZ said:
Now I've never heard of the situation that you described.
That's probably because it existed only in my head. I was just 'thinking out loud'. No school, remember?
 

Related to Understanding Plasma Sputtering: A Brief Overview

1. What is plasma sputtering?

Plasma sputtering is a physical vapor deposition technique used to deposit thin films of material onto a solid surface. It involves the use of a plasma gas to ionize and accelerate atoms or molecules towards a target material, causing them to be ejected and deposited onto the surface.

2. How does plasma sputtering work?

Plasma sputtering works by creating a plasma gas using an electric field, which ionizes the gas particles and creates a high-energy plasma. This plasma then bombards the target material, knocking off atoms or molecules which are then deposited onto the surface. The process is repeated until a thin film of the desired thickness is achieved.

3. What materials can be used in plasma sputtering?

A wide range of materials can be used in plasma sputtering, including metals, semiconductors, ceramics, and polymers. However, the target material must have a high melting point and be able to withstand the high-energy plasma bombardment without degrading.

4. What are the advantages of plasma sputtering?

Plasma sputtering offers several advantages over other deposition techniques, such as excellent control over film thickness and composition, high deposition rates, and the ability to deposit films on a variety of substrates. It also allows for the deposition of thin films with high purity and uniformity.

5. What are the applications of plasma sputtering?

Plasma sputtering has a wide range of applications in industries such as electronics, optics, and aerospace. It is commonly used to deposit thin films for microelectronic devices, solar cells, and optical coatings. It is also used in the production of hard coatings for cutting tools and wear-resistant parts.

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