What do you understand the term Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS) Coating?

Let us look into the Oxford dictionary and break the word into different bits, and that will helps us get the whole picture easier.

Ion: This is an atom or group of atoms bearing electrical charge.

Beam: A ray or collection of parallel rays emitted from a luminous body.

Sputtering: This is the ejection of atoms from the surface of a solid or liquid following bombardment with ions, atoms, or molecules; used to prepare a thin layer of material on an object.

Coating: It is simply a thin outer layer.

Ion Beam Sputtering Coating makes use of an ion to give rise to a relatively focused ion beam aimed at the target material (metal or dielectric) to be sputtered. It is a reactive process from an element (which may be an alloy, metal, or an oxide) which will consist of a cathode (positive terminal through which current flows), an anode (negative terminal through which current flows into a device) and a centralized axis. It is a comfortably controlled, energetic toppling process where the thin film coatings built are superior in terms of properties which include transmission, losses, resistance, absorption and its equivalent optical properties. The configuration of the IBS Coating system is an ion source, target and the substrate where the beam is usually generated through an ion gun which is focused on the target where the sputtered target material is then installed onto the substrate to generate the film.

What are the advantages of Ion Beam Sputtering Coatings?

The advantages of Ion Beam Sputtering Coatings include:

  • Independent Control: It has independent control over its parameters, which include ion current density, ion energy and its angle incidence for control.
  • Excellent Precision: It has a very high level of control, giving it great precision over substrate materials or production of a semiconductor. It also allows the beam to be scanned properly and also focused on maintaining the characteristics of the target and substrate materials.
  • Energy: It makes efficient use of momentum exchange to enable elements of solid form to turn into its equivalent gas form.
  • Stability: As a result of intrinsic collimation energy removal of ion beam sputtering, the coating is usually uniform and very thick, making it effectively adherent to the substrate.  
  • Deployment of remote ion beam source to persistently disturb an unsettled target and sputter target material onto the substrate.