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Open AccessArticle

Ultra-Short Pulse HiPIMS: A Strategy to Suppress Arcing during Reactive Deposition of SiO2 Thin Films with Enhanced Mechanical and Optical Properties

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Research Department, Faculty of Physics, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 700506 Iasi, Romania
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Faculty of Physics, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 700506 Iasi, Romania
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Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, Transilvania University, 500068 Brasov, Romania
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Centro de Física, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
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National Institute of Research and Development for Technical Physics, 700050 Iasi, Romania
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2020, 10(7), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10070633
Received: 4 June 2020 / Revised: 22 June 2020 / Accepted: 28 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hard Coatings: Production, Properties and Applications)
In this contribution, based on the detailed understanding of the processes’ characteristics during reactive high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS), we demonstrated the deposition of silicon oxide (SiO2) thin films with improved optical and mechanical performances. A strategy for stabilizing the arc-free HiPIMS of Si target in the presence of oxygen was investigated. Arcing was suppressed by suitable pulse configurations, ensuring good process stability without using any feedback control system. It was found that arcing can be significantly alleviated when ultra-short HiPIMS pulses are applied on the target. The optical and mechanical properties of SiO2 coatings deposited at various pulsing configurations were analyzed. The coatings prepared by ultra-short pulse HiPIMS exhibited better optical and mechanical performance compared to the coatings prepared by long pulse HiPIMS. The optimized SiO2 coatings on quartz substrates exhibited an average transmittance of 98.5% in the 190–1100-nm wavelength range, hardness of 9.27 GPa, hardness/Young’s modulus ratio of 0.138, and critical adhesion load of 14.8 N. The optical and mechanical properties are correlated with the film morphology, which is inherently related to energetic conditions and process stability during film growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: reactive HiPIMS; silicon oxide; arcing; mechanical properties reactive HiPIMS; silicon oxide; arcing; mechanical properties
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tiron, V.; Velicu, I.-L.; Matei, T.; Cristea, D.; Cunha, L.; Stoian, G. Ultra-Short Pulse HiPIMS: A Strategy to Suppress Arcing during Reactive Deposition of SiO2 Thin Films with Enhanced Mechanical and Optical Properties. Coatings 2020, 10, 633.

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