In the magnetron sputtering process, moderate bombardment of particles on a substrate gives favorable effects on the deposited films, while excessive bombardment at high energies may cause film damage and surface roughness. To make these influences clear, high-energy ions and neutrals are comprehensively measured by a mass spectrometer with an energy analyzer in the case of magnetron sputtering of a Permalloy™ target (80%Ni20%Fe). Ni atoms sputtered from the target by a dc magnetron discharge (600V, <0.2A) in argon below 4 Pa have an energy distribution function (EDF) spreading up to 8eV. A similar shape of EDF is also observed for Ni+ ions, which are produced possibly by electron-impact ionization of Ni atoms in gas phase. The EDF of Ar+ ions has a tail of extremely high energies of 150eV. Production of such energetic ions is tentatively explained in terms of resonant charge exchange of energetic Ar atoms reflected from the target after surface neutralization of 600eVAr+ ions impinging on the target. The existence of energetic Ar atoms is verified by mass spectrometry with an extra-ionizer, and is also supported by a sputtering simulation code (TRIM).

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