Effect of substrate bias on microstructure of epitaxial film grown by HiPIMS: An atomistic simulation

M Kateb and JT Gudmundsson and S Ingvarsson, JOURNAL OF VACUUM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY A, 38, 043006 (2020).

DOI: 10.1116/6.0000233

The authors explore the combination of high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) and substrate bias for the epitaxial growth of the Cu film on the Cu (111) substrate by molecular dynamics simulation. A fully ionized deposition flux was used to represent the high ionization fraction in the HiPIMS process. To mimic different substrate bias, the authors assumed the deposition flux with a flat energy distribution in the low, moderate, and high energy ranges. The authors also compared the results of the fully ionized flux with results assuming a completely neutral flux, in analogy with thermal evaporation. It is confirmed that in the low energy regime, HiPIMS presents a slightly smoother surface and more interface mixing compared to that of thermal evaporation. In the moderate energy HiPIMS, however, an atomically smooth surface was obtained with a slight increase in the interface mixing compared to low energy HiPIMS. In the high energy regime, HiPIMS presents severe interface mixing with a smooth surface but limited growth due to resputtering from the surface. The results also indicate that fewer crystal defects appear in the film for moderate energy HiPIMS. The authors attribute this behavior to the repetition frequency of collision events. In particular, the high energy HiPIMS suffers from high repetition of collision events that does not allow the reconstruction of the film. While in the low energy HiPIMS, there are not enough events to overcome the island growth. At moderate energy, collision events repeat in a manner that provides enough time for reconstruction, which results in a smooth surface, fewer defects, and limited intermixing.

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