September 27, 2013 – Isoflux Incorporated announced a new application area for the company’s cylindrical magnetron technology today.  The company presented data showing how sputtering off-axis from a cylindrical magnetron can provide exceptional uniformity and offers the advantages of ion-assisted sputtering without requiring a separate ion source.

“This approach is really a game changer,” said Isoflux CEO John Lanzafame.  “Ion-assisted sputtering has seen increasing use in some of the most demanding applications, such as high performance optical coatings.  The Isoflux approach has numerous advantages, in terms of performance, cost and process reliability.”

The company described the process and its advantages on their website, explaining that the application makes use of the Isoflux cylindrical magnetron combined with a patented magnetic field configuration to provide uniform coatings out the end of the cathode.  This configuration both sputters the desired target material and creates ions that provide the ion-assist without requiring a separate ion source, resulting in a simpler process and less costly equipment.

“This approach provides numerous benefits,” said Isoflux CTO Dr. David Glocker.  “Not only is the need for a separate ion source eliminated, but we were able to achieve extremely high uniformity (±0.25 percent over 16 cm) without the standard industry practices of rotating or masking the substrate.  This will improve efficiency and target utilization, while further simplifying the equipment design.”

“If we add in rotation and masking, we could improve still further on our excellent uniformity.”

The company also noted that, while the company is known for its ability to coat complex geometries including medical devices like stents and electrodes, the off-axis approach applies extremely well to coating flat surfaces like lenses. 

The company expects the process to find broad application in the optical coating field.