Optical emission from pulsed dc magnetron sputtering plasmas

Jose Lopez, WeiDong D. Zhu, Alfred Freilich, Abraham Belkind, Kurt Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reactive sputter deposition of dielectric films such as Al2O3 in a low-pressure magnetron plasma suffers from arcing on the target electrode, which affects the quality of the deposited film and may damage the power supply. The arcing is caused by charge buildup on the dielectric film that is inevitably deposited on the target (as well as on all other inside surfaces of the vacuum chamber), even when pulsed direct current (dc) power is used. The application of a small reverse voltage pulse to the target during the "off time" (which is the period during which the main pulsed dc power is off) has been found to neutralize these charges and reduce arcing. In an effort to better understand the effects of plasma power on the microscopic details of magnetron sputtering using pulsed dc excitation, we studied the optical plasma emissions from such a plasma with a fast intensified charge coupled device camera during the soutter deposition of Al2O3 films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-349
Number of pages2
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Alumina
  • Imaging
  • Magnetron plasma
  • Optical emissions
  • Sputter deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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