High-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) is thin film deposition from standard magnetrons using pulsed plasma discharges, where a large fraction of the material used in the deposition process arrives to the work piece as ions instead of commonly used neutrals.
The benefit of having an ionized deposition flux is that it can be guided and manipulated by electric and magnetic fields controlled by the process engineer.
The high degree of ionization of the deposition material leads to the growth of smooth and dense elemental as well as reactively deposited compound films, and enable control over their phase composition, microstructure, as well as mechanical and optical properties.
Furthermore, HiPIMS leads to improved film adhesion, enabling deposition of uniform films on complex-shaped substrates, and a decreased deposition temperature.
We have recently implemented a new reactive HiPIMS process control into our HiPSTER HiPIMS series, which is a simple and cost effective way to stabilize the sputtering process in the transition zone during reactive HiPIMS. Our reactive process control allows for a wide process window of reactive gas flow with maintained stoichiometric film composition at high deposition rates.
For more information on HiPIMS please read: An introduction to thin film processing using high power impulse magnetron sputtering, D. Lundin and K. Sarakinos, J. Mater. Res. 27, 780, (2012). or attend one of our HiPIMS seminars.