Combined experimental and theoretical description of direct current magnetron sputtering of Al by Ar and Ar/N2 plasma

Trieschmann, J. and Ries, S. and Bibinov, N. and Awakowicz, P. and Mráz, S. and Schneider, J.M. and Mussenbrock, T.

Volume: 27 Pages:
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/aac23e
Published: 2018

Direct current magnetron sputtering of Al by Ar and Ar/N2 low pressure plasmas was characterized by experimental and theoretical means in a unified consideration. Experimentally, the plasmas were analyzed by optical emission spectroscopy, while the film deposition rate was determined by weight measurements and laser optical microscopy, and the film composition by energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. Theoretically, a global particle and power balance model was used to estimate the electron temperature T e and the electron density n e of the plasma at constant discharge power. In addition, the sputtering process and the transport of the sputtered atoms were described using Monte Carlo models - TRIDYN and dsmcFoam, respectively. Initially, the non-reactive situation is characterized based on deposition experiment results, which are in agreement with predictions from simulations. Subsequently, a similar study is presented for the reactive case. The influence of the N2 addition is found to be twofold, in terms of (i) the target and substrate surface conditions (e.g., sputtering, secondary electron emission, particle sticking) and (ii) the volumetric changes of the plasma density n e governing the ion flux to the surfaces (e.g., due to additional energy conversion channels). It is shown that a combined experimental/simulation approach reveals a physically coherent and, in particular, quantitative understanding of the properties (e.g., electron density and temperature, target surface nitrogen content, sputtered Al density, deposited mass) involved in the deposition process. © 2018 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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