Introduction to magnetron sputtering

Jon Tomas Gudmundsson, Daniel Lundin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Plasma-based physical vapor deposition (PVD) methods have found widespread use in various industrial applications. In plasma-based PVD processes, the deposition species are either vaporized by thermal evaporation or by sputtering from a source (the cathode target) by ion bombardment. Initially, the dc glow discharge or the dc diode sputtering discharge was used as a sputter source followed by the magnetron sputtering technique, which was developed during the 1960s and 1970s. With the introduction of magnetron sputtering, the disadvantages of diode sputtering, such as poor deposition rate, were overcome as the operating pressure could be reduced while maintaining the energy of the sputtered species, often resulting in improved film properties. In this chapter we discuss the basics of the sputtering process, give an overview of the dc glow discharge, and review the basic physics relevant to the maintenance of the discharge and the sputter processes. Then we discuss the dc glow discharge and its role as a sputter source and how it evolves into the magnetron sputtering discharge. We also discuss various magnetron sputtering configurations in use for a wide range of applications both under laboratory and industrial arrangements. Finally, we introduce pulsed magnetron discharges including high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) discharges.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigh Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals, Technologies, Challenges and Applications
Number of pages48
ISBN (Electronic)9780128124543
ISBN (Print)9780128124550
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Dc glow discharge
  • Low-temperature plasmas
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Physical vapor deposition
  • Sputtering


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