Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-203 Sputter Deposition (two – day course)

This tutorial covers fundamental mechanisms associated with generation of glow discharges, sputtering, and energetics of target and substrate processes. Operation and system design will be discussed for dc, rf, magnetron (both magnetically balanced and unbalanced), pulsed dc, and ion beam sputtering. The advantages and disadvantages of these different modes of operation will be examined from the point of view of controlling film properties. Emphasis is placed on developing a sufficient understanding of sputter deposition to provide direction in designing new processes. Present and future trends in sputter deposition also will be addressed.


Topical Outline:
  • Processes controlling film growth and properties
  • The role of energetic particles in controllably modifying these processes
  • Target sputtering effects
  • Nature and energy of sputtered atoms
  • Diode, triode, magnetron, and ion beam systems
  • dc, HIPIMS, pulsed dc, mid-frequency ac, and rf power for targets and substrates
  • Reactive sputtering of conducting and dielectric layers
  • Alloy sputtering
Course Details:


1. Introduction and review
a. gas kinetics: mean free path (mfp)
b. gas adsorption, desorption, and film contamination
c. surface energy: effect on film agglomeration
d. surface structure
e. film growth kinetics: pathways and limits, Ehrlich barrier
f. vacuum system diagnostics for sputter deposition
2. Nucleation and the early stages of film growth
a. thermodynamics (a simple stability problem): examples
b. film growth modes
c. nucleation kinetics: examples
d. film growth models: examples
3. 3D (polycrystalline) film growth and microstructure evolution
a. 3D nucleation and island growth: examples
b. growth mechanisms (adatom diffusion, coalescence, coarsening): examples
c. microstructure evolution (structure-zone models): examples
d. densification and grain growth
4. Mechanisms of sputtering
a. sputter deposition: definition, advantages/disadvantages
b. ion/surface interactions: elastic and inelastic
c. ion trajectories and sputtering mechanisms: examples
d. sputtering yields: examples
e. energy distributions of sputtered atoms and backscattered ions: examples
f. angular dependencies of incident ions and sputtered atoms: examples
g. nature of sputtered species from elemental and alloy targets
5. Glow discharges
a. glow discharge characteristics
b. cathode fall distance (sheath width): examples
c. mfp for charge exchange collisions and incident ion energies: examples
d. secondary electron emission mechanisms and yields: examples
e. optical emission: examples
6. dc sputtering
a. typical operating conditions and system design: examples
b. characteristics (sheath width, I vs V, deposition rates, etc): examples
c. substrate potentials (plasma, floating, and bias): examples
d. process control: examples
7. rf sputtering
a. mechanism of operation: examples
b. intrinsic substrate bias: examples
c. system design and equivalent circuits: examples
d. typical operating conditions: examples
8. Magnetron sputtering
a. typical operating conditions and common target configurations: examples
b. operational mechanisms and characteristics: examples
c. system design (diode, cluster tools, in-line, etc) and applications: examples
d. problem areas (target utilization, magnetic targets, etc): examples
e. newer designs (rotating cylindrical, unbalanced, closed-field, ionized metal, high pulse density): examples
f.  rf or rf-superimposed dc power: good ideas?
9. Ion-beam sputtering
a. operation mechanisms and characteristics of common sources (cold cathode, rf, microwave/ECR, gridless, single grid): examples
b. design and operation of "hot cathode" Kaufman sources: examples
c. linear ion source
10. Reactive sputter deposition
a. reactive sputtering definition, applications, and problems: examples
b. origins and mechanisms of observed effects
c. process control strategies (flow, partial pressure, target voltage): examples
d. hysteresis effects: examples
e. negative ions and mediation strategies: examples
f. modeling
 11. Pulsed dc/mid-frequency ac sputtering
a. the issues: reactive sputtering of insulators, arcs (examples)
b. advantages/disadvantages of pulsed-dc/mid-frequency ac vs rf: examples
c. pulsed modes (asymmetric dc, mid-frequency ac, symmetric dc) and their operation: examples
d. advantages/disadvantages of the three pulsed modes: examples
e. redundant anodes and dual magnetron operation: examples.
12. Particle irradiation effects during film growth: heating, densification, stress, texture, and composition
a. substrate heating, origins and solutions: examples
b. film densification, mechanisms and strategies: examples
c. stress evolution, origin and control: examples
d. development of film texture: examples
e. nanotechnology: examples

Instructor: Joe Greene, Willett Professor of Materials Science and Physics, University of Illinois
Joe Greene

is the D.B. Willett Professor of Materials Science and Physics, the Tage Erlander Professor of Materials Physics at Linkoping University, a Chaired Professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Techology, and Past Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois. The focus of his research has been the development of an atomic-level understanding of adatom/surface interactions during vapor-phase film growth in order to controllably manipulate microchemistry, microstructure, and physical properties. His work has involved film growth by all forms of sputter deposition (MBE, CVD, MOCVD, and ALE). He was President of the American Vacuum Society in 1989, a consultant for several research and development laboratories, and a visiting professor at several universities. Recent awards include receipt of the Aristotle Award from SRC (1998), the Adler Award from the American Physical Society (1998), Fellow of the American Vacuum Society (1993) and the American Physical Society (1998), the Turnbull Prize from the Materials Research Society (1999), Fellow of the Materials Research Society (2013), and the Mentor Award from SVC (2015). He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2003 and is the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Solid Films.

This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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