For the synthesis of high-quality thin films, ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD) is a frequently used technique providing precise control over several substantial film properties. IBAD typically relies on the use of a broad-beam ion source. Such ion sources suffer from the limitation that they deliver a blend of ions with different ion masses, each of them possessing a certain distribution of kinetic energy. In this paper, a compact experimental setup is presented that enables the separate control of ion mass and ion kinetic energy in the region of hyperthermal energies (few 1 eV – few 100 eV). This ion energy region is of increasing interest not only for ion-assisted film growth but also for the wide field of preparative mass spectrometry. The setup consists of a constricted glow-discharge plasma beam source and a tailor-made, compact quadrupole system equipped with entry and exit ion optics. It is demonstrated that the separation of monoatomic and polyatomic nitrogen ions (N+ and N2+) is accomplished. For both ion species, the kinetic energy is shown to be selectable in the region of hyperthermal energies. At the sample position, ion current densities are found to be in the order of 1 μA/cm2 and the full width at half maximum of the ion beam profile is in the order of 10 mm. Thus, the requirements for homogeneous deposition processes in sufficiently short periods of time are fulfilled. Finally, employing the described setup, for the first time in practice epitaxial GaN films were deposited. This opens up the opportunity to fundamentally study the influence of the simultaneous irradiation with hyperthermal ions on the thin film growth in IBAD processes and to increase the flexibility of the technique.

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