Magnetron sputtering and spatio-temporal dynamics of neutral particle transport in a simplified processing reactor

Jan Trieschmann, Sara Gallian, Ralf Peter Brinkmann, Thomas Mussenbrock

WELT­PP-16, Kerk­ra­de, The Nether­lands, 21-22 No­vem­ber


Sputtering processes have found a common application in the physical vapor deposition of non-abrasive and hard protective coatings. In order to understand the intrinsic physical processes – especially in the highly dynamic High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS) regime – the detailed spatial and temporal evolution of the plasma and neutral gas species is of great importance. Due to typically very low operating pressures in the Pascal range, as well as a strong interaction of the non-thermal sputtered particles with the background gas, only a kinetic model description is applicable. To tackle this challenge, both operating Ar gas and the sputtered Al particles are treated kinetically. In particular the transport and the interaction of the sputtered Al particles with the Ar is analyzed. A modified version of the three-dimensional Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) code dsmcFoam [1] is employed. A transient sputtering wind mimicking the temporal evolution of a homogeneous HiPIMS pulse is investigated in a generic reactor geometry. In a well confined spatial region strong rarefaction and subsequence recovery of the background gas is observed and discussed.

This work is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the frame of transregional collaborative research center SFB-TR 87.

[1] T.J. Scanlon et al., Computers and Fluids 39, 2078–2089 (2010).

Tags: DSMC, HiPIMS, HPPMS, neutral gas dynamics