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In this paper, mass spectrometry was used to measure the ion energy distributions of the main species during the sputtering of an aluminum target in a reactive Ar + N2 mixture. Both conventional magnetron sputtering (dc) and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) were used. It appears that, in the HiPIMS, N+ and Al+ ions are significantly more energetic (up to 70 eV) than in the dc (<;40 eV). Furthermore, the HiPIMS Al+ signal is two orders of magnitude greater than in the dc, and time-resolved measurements indicate that most of the ion flux hits the substrate during the OFF time of the impulse sequence.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2010