High-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS)

HIPIMS – a new sputtering technology

High-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) and high power pulse magnetron sputtering (HPPMS) generate plasmas with a high proportion of ionised layer forming atoms. The resulting film systems feature entirely new and improved characteristics, for instance regarding density, hardness, roughness or the refraction index, which cannot be realized with any other technology available today.

To use HIPIMS technology in production, existing PVD systems can be expanded cost-effectively by installing a corresponding pulse unit. The technology is being used and further developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, and is currently being brought to production readiness.

Applications and benefits

TCO high-performance films

  • Improved stability of thin film solar cells against environmental influences
  • Feasibility of curved glass with TCO films through direct coating of the glass tube or plate glass coating with a subsequent bending process

Optical films

  • Improved characteristic profiles, for example higher refraction index, minimised losses, high hardness, low roughness and stress
  • Large-scale reactive precipitation for oxidic films using special control technology for HIPIMS processes

Sensory layers

  • Elimination of artificial ageing for sputtered strain gauges on the basis of NiCr due to HIPIMS precipitation
  • Reduction of the maximum thermal load on the components

Insulating films

  • Increased puncture strength
  • Reduction of the defect density through vitreous, dense films

M-A-X films

  • Improved electrical conductivity
  • Increased density for improved corrosion protection

Tribological films

  • Improved adhesion through optimized pretreatment and ion-assisted coating
  • Cost-effective layer and process development on industrial coating systems