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Committed to our focus on continuous improvements and innovations, Materion was recently granted U.S. Patent No. 10,347,472 for its Zirconium Oxide based Sputtering Target.­­ The newly patented technology was invented at Materion’s manufacturing facility located in Alzenau, Germany.

A notably difficult material to sputter by standard methods, the ZrO2 target and technology will enable leading edge sputtering for glass coating applications. The target includes zirconium oxide as a sputtering material and the target itself deposits a zirconium oxide layer in a non-reactive process, rather than in a reactive oxygen state with prior methodologies.

A Basic Study on ZrOx Rotatable Sputtering

Zirconium oxide is well established as technical ceramic material, due to its superior mechanical and thermal stability. In large-area coating of architectural glass it has recently gained increasing interest. Desirable properties of ZrO2 coatings reported so far include the improved thermal stability of the layer stack, UV blocking properties which can be tuned by nitrogen admixture, as well as a superior scratch resistance [1-4].

Transition mode sputtering of transparent films from metal targets at high rates has been demonstrated. However, this requires gas flow control, and in oxide mode the deposition rate is very low [5]. Moreover, the manufacturing of metallic Zr targets is difficult and expensive due to the high oxygen affinity of the metal.

As an alternative to reactive sputtering from metallic targets, the use of electrically conductive substoichiometric targets is well established for a range of transition metals. However, the manufacturing of ZrOx targets presents a challenge and has only recently been successful.

In the current study, we show results of target development with experimental data from a lab coater and the development and testing of AC power supply settings on a dual magnetron for industrial glass coating.

Access to the full technical paper, Parallel Developments in Target and Power Supply Technology Open a New Range of Dielectric Deposition Capability – A Basic Study on ZrOx Rotatable Sputtering, today.

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