KJLC Integrated HIPIMS Technology
The Kurt J. Lesker Company® is a leader in fully integrated HIPIMS technology. With a concentrated approach over the past 7+ years working with HIPIMS, the Kurt J. Lesker company has not only discovered various process advantages for HIPIMS, but also developed full integration of this technology into our standard system platforms. Due to the high level of parameter space in HIPIMS technology and the need to adjust these parameters to find optimal process performance, having a way to adequately monitor and change parameters insitu dramatically improves the ability and speed in which researchers and process technicians can find success.
The Kurt J. Lesker HIPIMS designs exclusively utilize bipolar pulsing for increased ionization which results in higher performance in density and hardness.
- Integrated bipolar positive pulsing for precision control of ion energy to engineer thin-film properties
- Ultra-fast pulsing allows usec current pulses at 100's A peak current to access high A/cm2 dense HiPIMS plasmas
- Pulsing frequency up to 10 kHz
- Easily sputtered metals, like copper and aluminum, can draw high peak currents at lower repetition rate. More difficult metals or dielectrics can be effectively managed at high-repetition rate with lower peak currents
- Up to 600A peak current capability for power handling and high deposition rate
- User selectable pulse width, frequency and peak current
- Arc detection and suppression technology
- Easy way to upgrade existing DC sputtering systems for HiPIMS/HPPMS and reactive capability
- Ask about integrated Oscilloscope options
- Full process integration to system software on all Kurt J. Lesker systems
- High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering
- High-Power Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS/HPPMS)
- Advanced coatings for university, industrial and governmental R&D applications
- Dense, high-hardness materials, non-porous films and superior optical coatings
- Ideal for 2", 3" and 4" circular magnetrons requiring high impulse power and pulse flexibility
DLC Coatings: DLC Coatings(diamond-like carbon coating),is a nanocomposite coating with unique properties of natural diamond low friction, high hardness, and high corrosion resistance.
Recent testing has shown that DLC coatings can be optimized using HIPIMS technology. The higher level of ionized material produced in HIPIMS due to higher plasma densities, enhances the film density and hardness resulting in much higher levels of sp3 orbitals in DLC films.
SEM Images of Carbon Thin Films
High Aspect Ratio Coatings
Coating requirements which involve non-flat substrates with minor or severe trenches. The objective is being to more effectively coat aspect ratio features that typical sputtering is unable to achieve.
Adding A Substrate Bias
A negative substrate bias attracts generated positive ions in the chamber. This enables you to pulse a strategically timed DC bias to choose either to attract the metal sputtered ions or the Argon ions to the substrate.
Sputtered target atoms that are ionized can potentially be guided into aspect ratio features. Biasing the substrate increases the effectiveness of the HIPIMS process. The effectiveness for the HIPIMS process to be used for aspect ratio coverage is dependent on the material being sputtered since materials differ in sputtered ion to neutral ratios. Initial results from the first attempt are encouraging for full coverage in a 30:1 aspect ratio feature.
Good for Reactive Sputtering
Electron backflow: electrons go back to the target surface and "charge" oxide and nitride particles on surface for "cleaning" on next pulse
Ion Backflow: ions go to anode for some sputtering of oxides and nitrides to clean electrode to mitigate "disappearing anode" phenomena like pulsed dc but better.
Pair with upgraded magnetic pack for higher performance TORUS® PVD tools
When HIPIMS was first introduced to the market, it was intended to be a technology for providing enhanced film properties to large scale production applications. The supplies were very large and cost prohibitive to the R&D community. However, with the recent release of R&D scale supplies, HIPIMS technology is being used on a much wider range of applications and the results are nothing less than impressive!
During the pulse, extreme power densities (several of kW/in2) are reached on the target. Due to the high plasma densities a large fraction of sputtered material is ionized, but the time average power remains at an acceptable level as to not damage the sputter target or magnetron sputter cathode
This results in films with higher density, smoother surfaces, higher refractive indexes, modified crystalline structures, enhanced hardness, etc.
The SEM examples below show the differences between films running with HIPIMS and DCMS at the same time average powers and parameters.
In DC sputtering, columnar film growth is both expected and acceptable in many sputtering applications. However, there are also a number of applications in which is it not. When smooth, dense film qualities are desired or required, HIPIMS can be an excellent option. Now, with the introduction of smaller scale R&D size supplies, HIPIMS technology can be easily and cost effectively added to any existing sputtering system.
The following SEM images show the film comparison of a CdO sputtering process done with both RF and HIPIMS (reactive sputtering). In this particular application, the customer is depositing CdO for solar, plasmonic sensor, and polaritonic IR device applications. This stems from unique capability to achieve very high mobility and high carrier density in donor-doped CdO. RF sputtering was the preferred method initially due to greater difficulty achieving fully oxidized Cd with a DC plasma
However, after trying the process with HIPIMS, in all comparisons of properties and structure, HIPIMS discharge plasmas achieve a superior structure.
- higher density
- smoother surfaces
- extreme deposition rates
- more complete oxidation
- no anion re-sputtering
- excellent reproducibility
- can run RF magnetron (dopant source) simultaneously
Thick CdO Film Deposition
One of the important things to understand with a smaller scale supply is how effectively performance can be scaled up to production level applications. Through some collaboration with the Fraunhofer IST facility, HIPIMS films with the HIPIMS IMPULSE® were run with Copper and then compared the parameters that are relative to their larger scale supplies.
The results show that the HIPIMS IMPULSE® supply scales very similarly to what is typical with larger supplies, which is unique in comparison to other results seen with smaller R&D units.
High Aspect Ratio coatings are another option being explored with HIPIMS technology. Recent testing has shown HIPIMS to be very effective at coating even some of the most extreme ratios.
SEM images of Carbon coating with HIPIMS (IMPULSE® power supply)
SEM Images of Carbon coating with DC magnetron sputtering
Downloads & Documents
- Plasma Studies of a Linear Magnetron Operating in the Range from DC to HiPIMS - Andre Anders, Yuchen Yang
- Cu Films Prepared by Bipolar Pulsed High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering - Baohua Wu, Ian Haehnlein, Ivan Shchelkanov, Jake McLain, Dhruval Patel, Jan Uhlig, Brian Jurczyk, Yongxiang Leng, David N. Ruzic