Maro Publications



from 3/5/2013

Maro Encyclopedia


Patent Abstracts

Patent Titles

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

Coatings: Methods




“Sputtering is a process whereby atoms are ejected from a solid target material due to bombardment of the target by energetic particles.  It only happens when the kinetic energy of the incoming particles is much higher than conventional thermal energies ( 1 eV).  This process can lead, during prolonged ion or plasma bombardment of a material, to significant erosion of materials, and can thus be harmful.  On the other hand, it is commonly utilized for thin-film deposition, etching and analytical techniques. 

Physical sputtering is driven by momentum exchange between the ions and atoms in the materials, due to collisions.

The primary particles for the sputtering process can be supplied in a number of ways, for example by a plasma, an ion source, an accelerator or by a radioactive material emitting alpha particles.

A model for describing sputtering in the cascade regime for amorphous flat targets is Thompson's analytical model.  An algorithm that simulates sputtering based on a quantum mechanical treatment including electrons stripping at high energy is implemented in the program TRIM.

A different mechanism of physical sputtering is heat spike sputtering.  This may occur when the solid is dense enough, and the incoming ion heavy enough, that the collisions occur very close to each other.  Then the binary collision approximation is no longer valid, but rather the collisional process should be understood as a many-body process. The dense collisions induce a heat spike (also called thermal spike), which essentially melts the crystal locally.  If the molten zone is close enough to a surface, large numbers of atoms may sputter due to flow of liquid to the surface and/or microexplosions.[  Heat spike sputtering is most important for heavy ions (say Xe or Au or cluster ions) with energies in the keV–MeV range bombarding dense but soft metals with a low melting point (Ag, Au, Pb, etc.).  The heat spike sputtering often increases nonlinearly with energy, and can for small cluster ions lead to dramatic sputtering yields per cluster of the order of 10,000. .

Physical sputtering has a well-defined minimum energy threshold equal to or larger than the ion energy at which the maximum energy transfer of the ion to a sample atom equals the binding energy of a surface atom. This threshold typically is somewhere in the range 10–100 eV.

Preferential sputtering can occur at the start when a multicomponent solid target is bombarded and there is no solid state diffusion. If the energy transfer is more efficient to one of the target components, and/or it is less strongly bound to the solid, it will sputter more efficiently than the other. If in an AB alloy the component A is sputtered preferentially, the surface of the solid will, during prolonged bombardment, become enriched in the B component thereby increasing the probability that B is sputtered such that the composition of the sputtered material will be AB.”

(Sputtering, Wikipedia, 3/5/2013)


Bookmark this page to follow future developments!.
(RDC 6/5/2012)


Roger D. Corneliussen

Maro Polymer Links
Tel: 610 363 9920
Fax: 610 363 9921


Copyright 2013 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
No part of this transmission is to be duplicated in any manner or forwarded by electronic mail without the express written permission of Roger D. Corneliussen

* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 3/5/2013.