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University of Melbourne brings new low-damage physical vapour deposition tool to ACAP

University of Melbourne team in the lab

High-quality transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) and metal oxide selective-contacts have become very important in increasing the efficiency of solar cells based on silicon and perovskites. The deposition of these materials, commonly via sputtering, can lead to damage of the underlying films/stacks, negatively affecting the device’s performance. To answer an unmet need for “soft” deposition of TCOs and other metal oxides, a new low-damage physical vapour deposition facility has been installed at the University of Melbourne ACAP node.

This facility is able to deposit thin films via a range of different configurations, inside an inert nitrogen glovebox-atmosphere. In addition to being capable of sputtering via conventional planar targets, the system is equipped with cylindrical hollow cathode sources, with the plasma plume concentrated at the centre of the cylindrical opening--far from the sample stage. These hollow cathodes which also contain a high-flow gas inlet, allowing for gas-flow-sputtering, further reducing the damage caused during deposition by lowering the kinetic energy of the depositing atoms.

The system can be operated via three different excitation options: as well as a conventional DC and RF, a high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) source is included. HIPIMS offers high-quality films via low deposition temperatures at high deposition rates. The versatility of the tool allows for multiple gas inlets, long source-to-stage distance, a sample stage designed for in-situ cooling (with liquid nitrogen) or heating, and an in-situ residual gas analyser for process quality control.

Finally, the system also contains one thermal evaporation source, adding the possibility for depositing high-vapour pressure metals or materials, in sequence with a TCO, without breaking the high vacuum.

For all enquiries, please contact James Bullock:

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