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Comprehensive Simulation of Sputter Deposition Open Access


Other title
Magnetron sputtering
Thin films deposition processes
Simulation of sputtering processes
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jimenez, Francisco Javier
Supervisor and department
Dr. Steven K. Dew (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Burrell, Robert (Biomedical Engineering)
DeCorby, Ray (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Brett, Michael (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Sit, Jeremy (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Depla, Diederik (Solid State Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The magnetron sputtering process is extensively used in industry to deposit thin films of a large number of materials for countless applications. However, to utilize the full potential offered by this process, it is essential to have a sound understanding of the complex dynamics occurring during a typical film deposition process. Computer simulations are a powerful, cost-effective tool to increase the understanding of the process which is otherwise difficult to obtain through theoretical models and experiments. This thesis presents the integration and implementation of a comprehensive 3D computational framework for the simulation of magnetron sputtering discharges in arbitrary reactor geometries. The modular architecture of the proposed model allows the user to either concentrate on individual components of the deposition or to investigate the process as a whole. Every module within the framework is an independent, highly specialized unit, capable of simulating a specific component of the process. As key to the correct description of the process, a model to numerically solve for the magnetized plasma is presented in this dissertation. The proposed numerical model uses a robust algorithm which is able to handle inhomogeneous magnetic fields and a wide range of process conditions using a global strategy. The interaction of the sputtered particles with the background gas, and the events at the target, are incorporated into the discharge model using an iterative scheme whereby modules comprising the computational framework are sequentially solved until convergence is attained. The resulting model is employed to study a variety of process parameters and effects such as gas rarefaction, plasma density and energy flux. Results, both from individual components and from the full iterative model, are compared against experiments to assess the validity of the model.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Jimenez et al. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A. 24, 1530 (2006)Jimenez and Dew. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 30, 041302 (2012)

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File title: Comprehensive Simulation of Sputter Deposition, PhD. Thesis
File author: Francisco J. Jimenez
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