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Ion composition produced by high power impulse magnetron sputtering discharges near the substrate

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4 Author(s)
Ehiasarian, A.P. ; Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB, United Kingdom ; Vetushka, A. ; Hecimovic, A. ; Konstantinidis, S.

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Plasma composition near the substrate was investigated in a high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) discharge using Langmuir probe analysis, mass spectroscopy, and atomic absorption spectroscopy. The HIPIMS discharge was operated in nonreactive Ar atmosphere at a pressure of 2.66 Pa and the magnetron cathode was furnished with Ti target. Plasma density, metal ion-to-neutral ratio, and gas ion-to-metal ion ratio were studied as a function of discharge current. At peak discharge current densities of ∼1 Acm-2, the results show that a dense plasma (ne∼1018 m-3) expanded from the target toward the substrate and lasted more than 330 μs after the supplied power was turned off. The shape of the time-averaged ion energy distribution function of sputtered material exhibited a transition from Thompson to Maxwellian distribution, indicating efficient energy transfer in the discharge. The metal content in the plasma monotonically increased with discharge current and the metal ion-to-neutral ratio reached approximately 1:1 in the postdischarge plasma at peak current density of 5 Acm-2.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:104 ,  Issue: 8 )