The Kurt J. Lesker Company is pleased to announce that it has been awarded United States Patent number 10,115,574 titled “Hermetically Sealed Magnetic Keeper Cathode” dated October 30th, 2018. The patent, granted for the company’s advanced sputtering cathode, covers a novel design which dramatically reduces the number of seals in a cathode, while increasing user friendliness and decreasing the operating pressure of the cathode.
The elimination of permeable elastomeric seals typical for conventional sputtering cathodes makes this new deposition tool truly hermetic. Unwanted gas loads due to permeation through the cathode have been completely eliminated. The cathode also benefits from a redesigned anode or dark space shield and the elimination of the target hold down ring. These mechanical enhancements increase the available active area of the sputtering target and enable the cathode to operate at half the typical pressure achievable with conventional cathode designs.
This is the first patent awarded to cathode designers Matt Jaszcar, Rob Belan and Roger Patterson. The creative team has also collaborated on another cathode design which will result in a subsequent patent.
The new cathode, named the “Mag Keeper™,” is available in a range of sizes from 2" up to 4" diameters and can be outfitted with a special magnet pack that enables the effective sputtering of magnetic materials such as nickel and iron. The newly patented sputter gun supports bonded target/backing plate and non-bonded target assemblies up to 0.375" thick. The re-design also improves the user friendliness of the cathode making target changes easier, as the target is held in place using the magnets in the gun eliminating the need for tools to change a target.