What is it about?

This article reports a plasma source that can generate a focused single beam of ions with tunable energy to enhance thin film growth. This ion source operates in a low-voltage (<150 V) and high-current regime. It can be used as a standalone plasma source for PECVD and in combination with magnetron sputtering to achieve high deposition rates. This article reports the use of the single beam plasma source for the deposition of hydrogenated amorphous carbon films, which appear to be fully transparent with Young's modulus of ~80 GPa.

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Why is it important?

Many delicate surfaces like plastic require protective coatings, which must be deposited at low temperatures. The reported single-beam ion source can generate high-density plasma with soft ions of relatively low energy (e.g., <60 eV). These features lead to high deposition rates and effective ion-surface interactions.

Perspectives

The single-beam ion source can be scaled into a linear structure of any length for large-area coatings. It enables low-temperature growth of densely packed thin films with ultra-smooth surfaces. Potential applications include barrier coatings on PET, transparent conductive oxide thin film deposition on perovskite and HJT solar cells, and protective coatings on hard disks.

Qi Fan
Michigan State University

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This page is a summary of: Single-beam plasma source deposition of carbon thin films, Review of Scientific Instruments, November 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0102605.
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