HIPIMS is a sputtering technique that builds upon the advantages of conventional magnetron sputtering. In magnetron sputtering, increased plasma densities are created near the target that boost the sputtering rate beyond that of traditional diode technology. The plasma density could be increased further with a higher rate of power applied to the cathode; however, dissipating the heat generated from these processes prohibits any practical use.

In HIPIMS, a train of short, intense pulses is delivered to the cathode. During a pulse, a very high – often kilowatt or megawatt – peak power creates an extremely dense plasma. To avoid the problem of excess heat, the pulses are delivered with a very low duty cycle which keeps heat, as well as the average operating power, at very manageable levels.

A HIPIMS plasma results in a large fraction of ionized sputtered atoms. When the fraction of ionized atoms is greater than that of neutrals, the process is referred to as ionized physical vapor deposition (IPVD). There are several advantages to having an ionized deposition flux, including increased film density, lower film friction, reduced substrate temperature, and optimized conformality and coverage of high aspect ratio features.

HIPIMS magnetron sputtering is available in a variety of source configurations and compatible with many of Angstrom’s process control capabilities and advanced fixturing options.