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Cathodic Arc Deposition

Cathodic arc deposition is a kind of ion beam deposition where an electrical arc is created that literally blasts ions from the cathode.

It is actively used among the community of the coaters of thin hard-film coatings to synthesize extremely hard film to protect the surface of cutting tools and extend their life significantly. A wide variety of thin hard-film and nanocomposite coatings can be synthesized by this technology: TiN, TiAlN, CrN, ZrN, TiAlSiN, etc.

This is also used quite extensively particularly for carbon ion deposition to create diamond-like carbon films. Because the ions are blasted from the surface ballistically, it is common for not only single atoms, but larger clusters of atoms to be ejected. Thus, this kind of system requires a filter to remove atom clusters from the beam before deposition. The DLC film from filtered-arc contains extremely high percentage of sp3 diamond which is known as tetrahedral amorphous carbon, or ta-C.

Industrial use of modern Cathodic arc deposition technology originated in Soviet Union around 1960–1970. By the late 70's Soviet government released the use of this technology to the West. Among many designs in USSR at that time the design by L. P. Sablev, et al, was allowed to be used outside USSR. There are also other interesting designs such as a design which incorporates a straight duct filter built-in with slightly tapered cathode as reported by D. A. Karpov in the 90's. This design became quite popular among both the thin hard-film coaters and researchers in Russia and former USSR countries until now. Cathodic arc source can be made into the long tubular shape (extended-arc) or long rectangular shape but both designs are less popular.

Plasma beam from Cathodic Arc source contains some larger clusters of atoms or molecules (so called macro-particles), which prevent it from being useful without some kind of filtering. There are many designs for macro-particle filters and the most studied design is based on the work by I. I. Aksenov et al in 70's. It consists of a quarter-torus duct bent at 90 degrees from the arc source and the plasma is guided out of the duct by principle of plasma optics.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cathodic_Arc_Deposition". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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