Influence of high power impulse magnetron sputtering plasma ionization on the microstructure of TiN thin films

A. P. Ehiasarian, A. Vetushka, Y. Aranda Gonzalvo, G. Sfrn, L. Székely, P. Barna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

HIPIMS (High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering) discharge is a new PVD technology for the deposition of high-quality thin films. The deposition flux contains a high degree of metal ionization and nitrogen dissociation. The microstructure of HIPIMS-deposited nitride films is denser compared to conventional sputter technologies. However, the mechanisms acting on the microstructure, texture and properties have not been discussed in detail so far. In this study, the growth of TiN by HIPIMS of Ti in mixed Ar and N2 atmosphere has been investigated. Varying degrees of metal ionization and nitrogen dissociation were produced by increasing the peak discharge current (Id) from 5 to 30 A. The average power was maintained constant by adjusting the frequency. Mass spectrometry measurements of the deposition flux revealed a high content of ionized film-forming species, such as Ti1, Ti2 and atomic nitrogen N1. Ti1 ions with energies up to 50 eV were detected during the pulse with reducing energy in the pulse-off times. Langmuir probe measurements showed that the peak plasma density during the pulse was 3 1016 m-3. Plasma density, and ion flux ratios of N1: N21 and Ti1: Ti0 increased linearly with peak current. The ratios exceeded 1 at 30 A. TiN films deposited by HIPIMS were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. At high Id, N1+: N 21+ ≥ 1 and Ti1+: Ti0+ ≥ 1 were produced; a strong 002 texture was present and column boundaries in the films were atomically tight. As Id reduced and N1+: N 21+ and Ti1+: Ti0 dropped below 1, the film texture switched to strong 111 with a dense structure. At very low Id, porosity between columns developed. The effects of the significant activation of the deposition flux observed in the HIPIMS discharge on the film texture, microstructure, morphology and properties are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104314
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume109
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2011

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impulses
magnetron sputtering
ionization
microstructure
textures
thin films
nitrogen
plasma density
pulses
dissociation
electrostatic probes
metals
nitrides
ions
mass spectroscopy
adjusting
activation
porosity
atmospheres
transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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Influence of high power impulse magnetron sputtering plasma ionization on the microstructure of TiN thin films. / Ehiasarian, A. P.; Vetushka, A.; Gonzalvo, Y. Aranda; Sfrn, G.; Székely, L.; Barna, P.

In: Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 109, No. 10, 104314, 15.05.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ehiasarian, A. P. ; Vetushka, A. ; Gonzalvo, Y. Aranda ; Sfrn, G. ; Székely, L. ; Barna, P. / Influence of high power impulse magnetron sputtering plasma ionization on the microstructure of TiN thin films. In: Journal of Applied Physics. 2011 ; Vol. 109, No. 10.
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