Mini sputter coater – rotary pumped

SC7620 from Quorum Technologies

The SC7620 Mini Sputter Coater is a low-cost manual device for sputtering precious metals (Au, Au/Pd) and glow discharge. Optional is a carbon fiber attachment for deposting a thin layer of carbon for energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

Manual sputter coater
Suitable for precious metals Au, Au/Pd
Glow discharge mode
Carbon coating option for EDX/WDX analysis

The carbon fiber coating option is used for coating samples for EDX or WDX analysis. Carbon is a relatively poor electrical conductor, which has the advantage that only one element peak is created to the left of the "light elements", which prevents overlapping.

Working principle of magnetron sputter coaters

Magnetron sputter coaters (also referred to as "Cool Sputter Coaters") are equipped with a special magnet which is located in the sputter head (cathode) in the vicinity of the target.

The benefits are:

  • Electrons are available for ionization of further process gas ions and
  • excessive heating is avoided.

During sputter coating, a vacuum is produced in a vacuum chamber and a process gas, preferably argon, is continuously leaked into the chamber. Argon has an optimal ion size and does not chemically react with other molecules.

Within a vacuum window from approx. 1 x 10-1 mbar to 5 x 10-3 mbar, process gas atoms are ionized in an electrical field, which creates a plasma. Positively charged argon atoms are accelerated towards the magnetron head with the target (cathode) and erode target atoms, which reach all surfaces within the vacuum chamber, including the sample to be coated.

Key specifications:

  • Vacuum chamber Ø 10 cm / 13.5 cm high
  • Magnetron head for "cold specimen coating", disc target
  • Sputter current adjustable by means of argon needle valve
  • Height-adjustable sample stage for optimum coating
  • Glow discharge by pole reversal for surface modification (hydrophilic/hydrophobic)
  • 3-minute timer, 15-second increments
  • incl. gold-palladium target, 1 m vacuum hose, hose flange & clip

 Option: carbon fibre coating

Conductive layer deposition

Sputter coaters are used to deposit a thin metal layer on the surface of a substrate. Sputtering is used in electron microscopy to deposit an electrically conductive film on non-conductive surfaces, to prevent electrons from the microscope's electron beam from accumulating on the sample surface, causing the latter to become charged. Such a charge would prevent imaging of these surfaces with the SEM. The desired films should be extremely thin, but electrically conductive, with a thickness of 3 - 20 nm.

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