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Enhanced Targets for Magnetron Applications

Over the past year, with gold and platinum prices reaching the $1750 - $2000/oz. range, it has become even more important to make as efficient use of sputtering target materials as possible. In general, thicker target designs allow for longer time between preventative maintenance cycles, thereby increasing system uptime and improving cost of ownership. However, magnetron designers define the specific target thickness that can be used, which is based on the strength of the magnets used and the magnet array design.  Looking to solve this problem, Materion has created improved target designs for these applications, called X-Tended™ Life Targets. 

These improved targets can be used to increase target lifetime without making any changes to the magnets or magnetron design. With the X-Tended™ sputtering targets approach, material is added to the target, but often only in the area of the erosion groove. The target material can be thinned in areas where the target erosion is low. This approach works with all types of magnetrons – from stationary planar magnetrons to cylindrical magnetrons. An example of this can be seen in the figure below, which shows an X-Tended™ Life Target design for a gold target.

Gold sputtering is commonly used in LCD drive chips, or the “gold bump” process. Gold bump manufacturers use deposition platforms with either stationary planar magnetrons, or rotary planar magnetrons. Another precious metal application is the die-attach process, in which AuSn alloys are commonly used. Specializing in precious metal management, Materion found the X-Tended™ Life Targets to be particularly well suited for applications such as these because it allows the addition of metal to just those areas to be sputtered, thus increasing life while minimizing additional metal costs.  Materion has also developed enhancements that remove metal from non-sputtered areas in order to maintain the current life, but reduce the overall material needed.  With Materion’s X-Tended™ Life Targets, lifetime can be improved by as much as 50%, with cost of ownership savings as high as 35%.

If an X-Tended™ Life Target does not already exist for your specific requirement, Materion has a procedure in place to generate one for you.  Follow this link to request a sales engineer to contact you.