In-vacuum characterization of magnetron targets after High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS) has been performed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Al-Cr composite targets (circular, 50 mm diameter) mounted in two different geometries were investigated: an Al target with a small Cr disk embedded at the racetrack position and a Cr target with a small Al disk embedded at the racetrack position. The HiPIMS discharge and the target surface composition were characterized in parallel for low, intermediate, and high power conditions, thus covering both the Ar-dominated and the metal-dominated HiPIMS regimes. The HiPIMS plasma was investigated using optical emission spectroscopy and fast imaging using a CCD camera; the spatially resolved XPS surface characterization was performed after in-vacuum transfer of the magnetron target to the XPS chamber. This parallel evaluation showed that (i) target redeposition of sputtered species was markedly more effective for Cr atoms than for Al atoms; (ii) oxidation at the target racetrack was observed even though the discharge ran in pure Ar gas without O2 admixture, the oxidation depended on the discharge power and target composition; and (iii) a bright emission spot fixed on top of the inserted Cr disk appeared for high power conditions.
Composite targets in HiPIMS plasmas: Correlation of in-vacuum XPS characterization and optical plasma diagnostics
Vincent Layes, Sascha Monje, Carles Corbella, Volker Schulz-von der Gathen, Achim von Keudell, Teresa de los Arcos; Composite targets in HiPIMS plasmas: Correlation of in-vacuum XPS characterization and optical plasma diagnostics. J. Appl. Phys. 7 May 2017; 121 (17): 171912. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4977820
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