Sputter coating is widely used for the fabrication of thin films in a highly diverse range of applications – from decorative and low emissivity coatings on glass, through to deposition on circuits and engineering coating on products used in some of today’s most demanding applications.
Of the many different types of sputter process, magnetron sputtering, (where sputtered atoms are ejected from a target by ions produced in a magnetically confined plasma), has a number of advantages that have made it a popular choice. Among these are its high sputtering efficiency and increased sputter rates at low pressure – owing to the increased working gas ionization caused by the extended electron path length – and the flexibility to vary the properties of the plasma to control the characteristics of the deposited film.
Opera’s Charged Particle solver includes a specially defined emitter that enables the simulation of magnetron sputtering. This feature was first introduced in Opera version 16, and since then developments have continued to refine and extend the capability. A major contributor to the development has been a recently completed multi-year, government sponsored project, involving partners from academia and the user community. This presentation will review and illustrate the magnetron sputter simulation feature and its recent developments.