High-temperature durable mirrors based on a protected silver sputter coating are attractive for secondary reflector applications in concentrated solar thermal power plants. In this paper, silver films are deposited by high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) and standard direct current (DC) magnetron sputtering, either as exposed discretely deposited films or in-sequence-deposited thin film systems, where the silver is protected and embedded between adhesion and barrier layers. The unprotected silver films and equivalent protected silver thin film systems are compared and characterized as deposited and after 400 °C oven temperature exposure. The reflectance is measured and grazing incident X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) pictures were taken. The HiPIMS silver film, sputtered with a peak current of 200 A and an approximately equivalent average power density to the DC magnetron sputtered silver, exhibits higher reflectance (and conductivity). Increasing the power density further, yields silver films with lower reflectance, correlating to a reduced grain size. In the protected silver film system, the reflectance does not improve, due to the presence of a less reflective top adhesion layer. The protected film system, with the 200 A HiPIMS, is, however, more durable at 400 °C than the DC magnetron sputtered equivalent.
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