The one thing that all the various types of sputtering methods, including Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), ion beam deposition, physical vapor deposition (PVD), and a thermal evaporation system have in common is they use air tight vacuum technology to complete their sputtering tasks. Without this air tight seal, the sputtering process would not work efficiently or safely. Impurities can make it through the slightest leak, weakening the results, or worse, causing damage to the machine and its sensitive components.
Keeping the machine clean inside and out is absolutely essential for proper operation. Operators, or anyone else who touches the machine, should be properly trained and certified so they know what simple actions have massive effects. For example, touching anything inside the machine or any materials that would be placed inside the machine with your bare hands makes a huge difference in how the machine will perform. The oils in human hands cause a grease build up that will weaken the product of the machine’s efforts. This impedes its performance for optical coating systems and other industry applications.
There are special ways to clean the machine, and simply wiping it down with a towel is not recommended whatsoever. The backing place, dark space shield, interior walls and other surfaces need to be impeccably cleaned with alumina impregnated sand paper, blasted glass or chemical baths. The target to be entered into the machine for sputtering should also be flawlessly clean to prevent those impurities that would compromise the results. A trained and knowledgeable technician knows all the proper ways to operate and care for a sputtering vacuum and their expertise can be relied upon.