Korvus Technology

FISSION | DC and RF Sputtering Source

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FISSION | Magnetron Sputtering

The Fission series of magnetron sputtering systems allows users to switch between thin film DC/RF sputtering without specialised tools or lengthy downtime. The Fission deposition source is a module of the modular HEX system that uses quick-release connectors for cooling and water connections, making set-up simple and fast. The HEX system provides the framework for multiple physical vapour deposition techniques, including DC/RF sputtering.

The system accommodates reactive sputtering through the introduction of the reactive gas directly into the chamber or via a separate gas feed. We recommend using the separate feed to maintain the correct partial pressure of the reactive gas at the target.

The Fission series allows the sputtering of all solid metals, magnetic materials, insulators, and semiconductors and can even process multiple sources to grow a composite thin film.

The HEX system even supports high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS), resulting in the target molecules arriving at the substrate as ions instead of neutral atoms. The main advantage of HiPIMS is that it allows for excellent control over the film’s microstructure, phase composition, and optical properties.

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Sputter Deposition Technique

Sputter deposition is a widely-used thin film deposition. A plasma is ignited above a negatively-biased ‘target’ which has the effect that ions are drawn from the plasma and accelerated towards the target material. On impact, the argon ions eject atoms/molecules from the surface – a process known as sputtering. The sputtered material forms a vapour, which can be re-condensed on a substrate to form a thin film coating.

Fission magnetron sputtering system secondary angle

Technical Specification

Fission- Magnetron Sputtering Source
Target Diameter
50mm (2")
Maximum Target Thickness
6mm (1mm magnetics with strong magnets)
DC Power Supply
720W (600V, 1.2A)
RF Power Supply
300W (13.56MHz)
Gas Feed
Integral through gas hood
Water (min 0.5l/min)

Our DC/RF Magnetron Sputtering System FAQs

The steps of the RF and DC magnetron sputtering process differ slightly, but will contain the following steps:

  1. A vacuum environment is created, containing the target material, the substrate and an inert gas. The gas becomes charged upon exposure to the current.

  2. The sputtering target materials will act as one node, while the substrate acts as the other.

  3. The gas flow ionises and collides with the surface of the target.

  4. Collisions caused in this process knock off metal ions into the plasma.

  5. The charged plasma particles then condense on the substrate surface, completing the thin film deposition.

The charge distribution will vary whether you are using DC or RF techniques. The negatively-charged target material will remain as such in the DC process but alternate with the RF.

Argon is often the gas used within the magnetron sputtering system. Other inert gases, however, may also be used.

Why is argon used in sputtering?

Argon is used in the thin film deposition process for a few reasons:

  • It has a large atomic mass (39.948 u)

  • As an inert gas, it is not reactive

  • Its affordability

Direct current (DC) and radio frequency (RF) sputtering are thin film deposition techniques that are covered in extensive detail within our full guide on DC sputtering. Please take a look to learn more.

ionautics hipster hipims image

HiPIMS and the HEX DC Fission Source

High-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) is thin film deposition from standard magnetrons using pulsed plasma discharges. In this process, a majority of the material from the deposition process reaches the substrate as ions instead of neutrals.

The high ionization of the deposition material leads to smoother and denser films. This process allows more control over their mechanical and optical properties, as well as their phase composition and microstructure. The HEX DC Fission source is able to integrate with Ionautics 1 kW HiPIMS unit, making it suitable for academic and industrial research.

For further information on HiPIMS, visit Ionautics. Please contact us at Korvus Technology for more information on our HEX system and its industrial and research applications.