Guide Book: Sputtering Targets Preparation, Cleaning, Installation and Packing

Target cleaning

Preparation before using the target

It is very important to keep the vacuum chamber clean. Residues formed during target sputtering collect moisture and other contaminants, directly affecting the success rate of vacuum coating. If the sputtering chamber is not clean enough, the sputter gun and the sputtering target will often short-circuit or exceed the target arc to discharge, filming surface roughness and chemical impurities. In addition to the vacuum chamber, the dark area shield, cavity walls and adjacent surfaces need to be kept clean. When cleaning the vacuum chamber, we recommend using a glass ball to blast the dirty parts, while using compressed air to remove spilled residue from the periphery of the cavity, and then gently polishing the surface with alumina impregnated sandpaper. After polishing, wash with alcohol, acetone and deionized water. It is recommended to use an industrial vacuum cleaner for auxiliary cleaning.

In addition, in order to ensure coating characteristics, it is also necessary to wash and dry the sputtering gas (argon or oxygen). After the substrate is placed in the sputtering chamber, air needs to be extracted to achieve the vacuum state required for the process.

When using the target, wear clean protective gloves and avoid direct contact with the target.

Target cleaning

The purpose of cleaning the sputtering target is to remove any dust or dirt that may be present on the target surface. Metal sputtering targets can be cleaned in four steps:

In the first step, the target is wiped with a soft, lint-free cloth soaked in acetone;

The second step is to clean the target with alcohol;

The third step is to wash the target with deionized water;

In the fourth step, the target was placed in an oven and dried at 100 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

For oxide ceramic sputtering targets, it is recommended to use a “langue-free cloth” for cleaning. After removing the contaminated area, the target is flushed with high pressure, low moisture argon to remove any contaminating particles that may create an arc in the sputtering system.

Target cleaning

Target installation

During target installation, it is important to ensure a good thermal connection between the target and the stabilizing wall of the sputter gun. If the degree of warpage of the stave or backing plate is severe, the thermal conductivity of the target will be greatly affected, resulting in heat not being dissipated during the sputtering process, eventually leading to cracking of the target.

Target packaging and transportation

All targets should be packaged in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag with a moisture barrier. The outer packaging is usually a wooden box with an anti-collision layer around it to protect the target and rear targets from damage during transportation and storage.

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Author: SAM Sputter Targets

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of various sputtering targets such as metals, alloys, oxides, ceramic materials.

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