Nanoparticle vacuum deposition sources use sputtering to eject material from targets (up to 3 can be fitted to each source) positioned at one end of the source. Using a complex differential pumping system, controlled independently from that of the process chamber, the material is guided through the length of the source to emerge from an orifice at the far end as a stream of nanoparticles that are aimed at substrates. Substrates are supported on stages that can be equipped with the wide range of functionalities available as standard with the MiniLab range including heating, cooling, tilt, rotation and bias.
With fine control of process, substrates can be coated with nanoparticles of particular size ranges. Sources can also be equipped with quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS) modules for characterising the nanoparticle sizes as they are being coated.
The sources can be combined with other techniques such as magnetron sputtering inside the same chamber, allowing for highly versatile vacuum deposition systems.
We have recently designed, built and installed our first MiniLab tool with a nanoparticle vacuum deposition source at the group laboratories of Professor Christian Mitterer at Montanuniversität Leoben in Austria.