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NiPt Achieving Optimal Deposition

There is a growing demand for high performance Nickel-Platinum (Ni-Pt) targets for use in the semiconductor industry.  Ultra high purity targets are particularly required to custom-manufacture silicide gates in CMOS devices and for electronic microcircuit devices such as Ni-Pt silicide Schottky diodes.  Materion’s capabilities and technologies produce these high quality targets that feature fine, uniform grain sizes for improved film uniformity and consistent sputtering performance.


Materion’s Brewster, NY facility fabricates hundreds of different magnetic alloy sputter target materials.  Our extensive experience with magnetic materials such as NiPt alloys gives us a unique proficiency for developing processes which tailor the magnetic properties of the target for optimal deposition performance. 

Optimized magnetic properties include a high magnetic pass through flux (PTF) to minimize cathode shunting and poor deposition characteristics.  Materion processes reduce variations in PTF across the target, thereby minimizing variations in deposition characteristics across different areas of the target.  Furthermore, we also decrease target-to-target variations in PTF to ensure consistent deposition performance for a given alloy, thereby allowing customers to set-up stable deposition processes.

Optimal deposition also relies on fabricating high quality devices.  Performance is dependent on the purity and cleanliness of the materials.  Materion fabricates Ni-Pt materials using vacuum induction casting to produce very pure targets (up to 99.995%) with low oxygen and impurity levels. 


To achieve optimized microstructure and enhance thin film uniformity, Materion has the equipment and thermomechanical processes to produce sputter targets with grain size of less than 100µm and minimal variation throughout the target.  This ensures constant sputter rates over the lifetime of the target.  A microstructure evaluation and grain size analysis (ASTM Standard E-112) is performed on all Materion Ni-Pt materials shipped and the resulting analysis supplied to the customer with the targets.
Uniform Microstructure_Grain Images
Figure 1: Etched metallographic cross-sections of a NiPt sputter target showing the uniform microstructure through the target thickness.


While the addition of platinum reduces the magnetic susceptibility of a target, nevertheless NiPt alloys are still generally considered magnetic.  Materion offers novel target designs to both maximize pass through flux (PTF) for all NiPt sputter targets, as well as processing materials to optimize the uniformity of the PTF.  The latter ensures the best possible deposited film uniformity and enhances target utilization and process repeatability.  High PTF allows thicker target geometries to be sputtered, reducing the frequency of target changes, increasing throughput, and effectively lowering precious metal cost.


Materion can supply NiPt alloys with compositions ranging from 1wt% to over 80wt% platinum with less than 100µm grain size.  Our expertise allows us to customize targets to specific customer applications and requirements, including difficult to sputter alloy compositions.  View chart for Materion NiPt sputtering target characteristics: Materion NiPt Sputtering Targets
We also provide vertically integrated precious metal recovery and refining capabilities of Pt both from spent targets and from shielding.  We are truly a global foundry with operations and manufacturing capacity in US, Germany and Singapore. For more information, contact Dr David Van Heerden, Applications Engineer at: