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High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering

High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS, also known as High Impact Power Magnetron Sputtering and High Power Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering, HPPMS) is a method for physical vapor deposition of thin films which is based on magnetron sputter deposition. HIPIMS utilises extremely high power densities of the order of kWcm-2 in short pulses (impulses) of tens of microseconds at low duty cycle (on/off time ratio) of < 10%.

HIPIMS is used for:

  • adhesion enhancing pretreatment of the substrate prior to coating deposition (substrate etching)
  • thin film deposition

The first patent on HIPIMS was filed by Vladimir Kouznetsov (priority date 9 Dec 1997), Kouznetsov US 6296742 B1.


HIPIMS Plasma Discharge

HIPIMS plasma is generated by a glow discharge where the discharge current density can reach up to 6 Acm-2, whilst the discharge voltage is maintained at several hundred volts[1]. The discharge is homogeneously distributed across the surface of the cathode of the chamber. HIPIMS generates a high density plasma of the order of 1013 ions cm-3 [1] containing high fractions of target metal ions.

Substrate pretreatement by HIPIMS

Substrate pretreatment in a plasma environment is required prior to deposition of thin films on mechanical components such as automotive parts, metal cutting tools and decorative fittings. The substrates are immersed in a plasma and biased to a high voltage of a few hundred volts. This causes high energy ion bombardment that sputters away any contamination. In cases when the plasma contains metal ions, they can be implanted into the substrate to a depth of a few nm. HIPIMS is used to generate a plasma with a high density and high proportion of metal ions. When looking at the film-substrate interface in cross-section, one can see a clean interface. Epitaxy or atomic registry is typical between the crystal of a nitride film and the crystal of a metal substrate when HIPIMS is used for pretreatment[2]. HIPIMS has been used for the pretreatment of steel substrates for the first time in February 2001 by A.P. Ehiasarian.[3]

Thin Film Deposition by HIPIMS

Thin films deposited by HIPIMS at discharge current density > 0.5 Acm-2 have a dense columnar structure with no voids. Copper films deposited by HIPIMS are able to fill high aspect ratio trenches [4]

HIPIMS has been used for the deposition of transition metal nitride (CrN) thin films for the first time in February 2001 by A.P. Ehiasarian. The films had a dense microstructure, were free of large scale defects and had low sliding wear coefficient[3].


  1. ^ a b Ehiasarian, Arutiun P.; New, R. & Munz, W.-D. et al. (2002), " ", Vacuum 65: 147-154, .
  2. ^ Ehiasarian, Arutiun P.; Wen, J.G. & Petrov, I. (2007), " ", Journal of Applied Physics 101 (5): item 054301, 10 pp., .
  3. ^ a b Ehiasarian, Arutiun P.; Munz, W.-D. & Hultman, L. et al. (2003), " ", Surface and Coatings Technology 163-164: 267-272, .
  4. ^ Kouznetsov, V.; Macak, K. & Schneider, J. et al. (1999), " ", Surface and Coatings Technology 163-164 (2-3): 290-293,

Further reading

  • D.V. Mozgrin, I.K. Fetisov, G.V. Khodachenko (1995). "High-current low-pressure quasi-stationary discharge in a magnetic field: experimental research". Plasma Physics Reports 21 (5): 400–406.
  • J. Alami, P. Eklund, J. Emmerlich, O. Wilhelmsson, U. Jansson, H. Högberg, L. Hultman, and U. Helmersson (2006-12-05). "High-power impulse magnetron sputtering of Ti–Si–C thin films from a Ti3SiC2 compound target". Thin Solid Films 515 (4): 1731–1736. Elsevier B.V.. doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2006.06.015.
  • Johan Böhlmark (March 2005). "Fundamentals of High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering" (PDF). Chemfilt. ISBN 9185523968
  • Ehiasarian, A P and Bugyi, R (2004). "Industrial Size High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering". Society of Vacuum Coaters 47th Annual Technical Conference; Dallas, TX; USA; 24–29 April 2004: 486–490. 
  • Ulf Helmersson, Martina Lattemann, Johan Bohlmark, Arutiun P. Ehiasarian, and Jon Tomas Gudmundsson (2006-08-14). "Ionized physical vapor deposition (IPVD): A review of technology and applications". Thin Solid Films 513 (1–2): 1–24. Elsevier B.V.. doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2006.03.033.
  • S. Konstantinidis, J.P. Dauchot, and M. Hecq (2006-11-23). "Titanium oxide thin films deposited by high-power impulse magnetron sputtering". Thin Solid Films 515 (3): 1182–1186. Elsevier B.V.. doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2006.07.089.

External links

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