Skip to Main Content
An unexpected etching phenomenon during the sputtering of rare earth-gold alloys has been found to be caused by a large flux of negative gold ions from the sputtering target. We find this effect to occur in a range of intermetallic compounds. A model is presented which predicts when negative ion formation will be important. Effects of negative ions on sputter deposition of thin films include reduced deposition rate or substrate etching, and changes in film composition and other properties. Negative ion formation must also be taken into account for accurate quantitative analysis by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).
Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.