Sunday, November 10, 2013

Intro to sputtering (process to create clear, conductive coatings)

I have finally been successful in creating a conductive, clear layer of indium-tin oxide on a microscope slide. In this video, I show the process and explain how sputtering works.


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  2. Nice into to sputtering. Through my experience I have found that 80% of the energy supplied by the power supply ends up as heat in the target. This is why the cooling water specification for our rotary magnetrons,, is 1 liter per minute per kilowatt of energy that we put into the target material. Also I would recommend using an Advanced Energy MDX 500 power supply for your DC sputtering process. The MDX is usually easy to find on E-bay and it is pretty indestructible if your target starts arcing.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Glad you have comments here. The "new and improved" google+ linkage to youtube has pretty much screwed up the ability to comment on youtube videos anymore.

    I really need to get my vacuum system setup so I can do some experimentation as well. Have most of the parts, just need to find the time to assemble it.

  4. Hi Ben,

    just a few comments/questions on your Sputtergun:

    - Is this a water cooled quarz thickness monitor? Did you discard your decapitated quarz oscillator?
    - There are only a few polymers that are suitable for vacuum use. The only one to come by easily is Teflon, but temerature is a problem for it.
    - I'm not very much into sputtering oxides, but a little addition of oxygen to the sputter gas might be helpful to get the right stoichiometry on your substrate. A least for PLD processes this is necessary. There, heating the substrate is also very important.

    Keep up that great work,


  5. Michael, thanks. I gave up on the decapitated crystal oscillators after someone donated a quartz crystal holder. It's true that 1-2% O2 is often added for ITO sputtering, but I don't have any fancy flow control devices. I might try to rig up a needle valve manifold.

  6. Hi Ben,

    yes needle valves should do the job.
    If you ever can get your hands on some mass flow controllers don`t worry about their calibration. Normally hey can be recalibrated to other gases.
    MFCs are neat devices but quite expensive.

  7. Great project! I'd like to design one of these for an experiment. Do you have any tips? I'm a machinist, so I can make pretty much make whatever I need. Unfortunately I'm not an engineer so the build might have to be simpler in the power supply department at least. I'm only thinking about something big enough to coat a strip of foil with precious metal (assuming it won't obliterate the foil) in like a pickle jar. What would I be looking at for power requirements? And is there any math I need to consider to calculate and optimize the size of the magnetron for the application?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!