Multi Beam Sputter Deposition Systems

Our answer to the demand for higher throughput in multicomponent materials research: multi beam sputter deposition. A unique geometry for thin film deposition based on ion beam sputtering, with multiple ion beams generated by our ultracompact and ultralow power ECR technology. A key feature is the possibility to depose uniformly in composition and thickness, or with controlled gradients, across stationary substrates, using very compact sputter targets. All in a highly automated system with a very small footprint.
Photo of MBS-24 : a 50x50x50cm deposition system based on 24 individual ion sources for Ø10cm uniform (±2%) (multi-component) thin films

Ion beam deposition ‘the easy way’

Systems for ion beam deposition are generally considered to be bulky and complicated. With our multi beam deposition systems we try to break with this idea. We believe that due to the completely different concept of our systems, ion beam deposition can now be done ‘the easy way’.


Tunable deposition parameters

Stable ion beams in a large current & energy window

Easy system operation

Inherently reliable ion source type plus accessible user interface

Low system maintenance

Patented design to protect sources & chamber from deposition
Launch a recipe and have the system deposit thin films of almost any solid target material, based on up to 24 (depending on the number of sources) individual targets. Reactive depositions, for e.g. nitride or oxide thin films, are possible using a second gas near the sample, in addition to the noble gas used for source operation.

Our method is “sample-friendly”, just as conventional ion beam sputter deposition methods: substrates can be of sensitive nature, as they are not attacked by plasma (plasma is confined to the source cavities), sample biasing is not required, and sample heating is minimal.

The film quality that our systems deliver is typical for ion beam sputter deposition. Films are dense & smooth, often nanocrystalline in nature, and contain no noble gas (from the sources). The non-standard geometry of our system can yield semi-conformal depositions.

Multi-component thin films in many varieties

The source technology employed in our deposition systems offers enormous possibilities for multi-component thin films. This is, first of all, because our ECR ion sources have a large operating window both beam current and energy. Secondly, each source is controlled individually through individual RF power supplies. And finally, the sources are easy to turn on and off individually. This enables the uniform deposition of multi-component materials, but also the controlled deposition of nonuniform multi-component materials. Nonuniform compositions across a substrate can be of interest for combinatorial thin film synthesis, aiming at rapid material discovery. A nonuniform composition in vertical sense can be useful for better adhesion of a film on a substrate, but for example also to create a continuously varying refractive index.

Photo of Ø32cm ion source ring of MBS-24 deposition system, and photos showing different numbers of beams on, and with different intensities

Deposition of alloys & compounds

controlled stoichiometry for the full composition range

Functionally graded thin films

Vary the deposition rate and/or energy of individual sources during the process

Multilayer deposition

Compile multilayer films by turning sources on and off individually

System specifications (MBS-24)

  • 50x50x50cm vacuum chamber
  • Ø32cm source-ring
  • up to 24 ion sources (indiv. RF power supplies)
  • 0-500 µA per ion source
  • 5-10kV ion beam energy
  • Oil cooling (source ring & targets)
  • Roots pump 15 m3/h, turbo pump 700 l/s
  • Source gas inlet: e.g. Ar, Xe
  • Recipe depositions
  • Real time automated beam tuning
  • Customizable sample (top) loading
  • ±2% uniformity for 70nm/h on Ø10cm (static)
  • Uniform films up to 4 components
  • Reactive gas inlet: e.g. O2, N2
  • Film thickness monitor
User interface for controlling the MBS-24 deposition system
User interface of 24-source based ion beam sputter deposition system MBS-24 with screen shot of beam intensity profile used for real automated time beam tuning

Multi Beam Sputter Deposition animation