The Different Sputtering Methods

Vacuum sputtering systems are an outstanding solution for sensitive devices that need a light, but dense coating. Optical coating systems create a dense covering that doesn’t interfere with function. Material is heated inside a chamber at such high temperatures and pressures that it condenses into a diamond-like film that is only micron thick.

Industries that develop semiconductor systems, medical tools and optics have already taken advantage of what this modern technology has to offer. These products are protected from abrasion, heat and pressure, as the coating developed by sputtering is so hard. Magnetron sputtering, ion beam sputtering and reactive sputtering are three types of sputtering methods commonly used for such purposes.

Magnetron sputtering creates an electromagnetic field around the target. Gases such as argon fill the chamber and the product is electrically charged of either an AC or DC current. This sort of ionization catches rogue electrons in the electromagnetic field. Ultimately the density inside the chamber of the vacuum is so great that the particles start to interact with the gasses in ways they wouldn’t under normal circumstances. This creates a load of energized ions that are bombarded onto the target’s surface, creating the strong film coating desired from this process.

Ion beam sputtering has the ability to function without an electromagnetic field. Ions removed from the product interact with electrons from another source with an opposite charge. Neutral atoms are then bombarded on the target substance to either conduct or neutralize it.

Reactive sputtering procedures change how the gasses in the chamber react based on chemical changes. Changing the pressure in the chamber allows the particles to layer on the target material in different ways. This includes the thermal evaporation system.

Guest post is provided by Denton Vacuum, LLC. Find out more on our e-beam evaporation systems by visiting

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