A flexible curvilinear electromagnetic filter for direct current cathodic arc source

Dai, Hua; Shen, Yao; Li, Liuhe; Li, Xiaoling; Cai, Xun; Chu, Paul K.
September 2007
Review of Scientific Instruments;Sep2007, Vol. 78 Issue 9, p095103
Academic Journal
Widespread applications of direct current (dc) cathodic arc deposition are hampered by macroparticle (MP) contamination, although a cathodic arc offers many unique merits such as high ionization rate, high deposition rate, etc. In this work, a flexible curvilinear electromagnetic filter is described to eliminate MPs from a dc cathodic arc source. The filter which has a relatively large size with a minor radius of about 85 mm is suitable for large cathodes. The filter is open and so the MPs do not rebound inside the filter. The flexible design allows the ions to be transported from the cathode to the sample surface optimally. Our measurements with a saturated ion current probe show that the efficiency of this flexible filter reaches about 2.0% (aluminum cathode) when the filter current is about 250 A. The MP density measured from TiN films deposited using this filter is two to three orders of magnitude less than that from films deposited with a 90° duct magnetic filter and three to four orders of magnitude smaller than those deposited without a filter. Furthermore, our experiments reveal that the potential of the filter coil and the magnetic field on the surface of the cathode are two important factors affecting the efficacy of the filter. Different biasing potentials can enhance the efficiency to up to 12-fold, and a magnetic field at about 4.0 mT can improve it by a factor of 2 compared to 5.4 mT.


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