Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A METHOD TO MANUFACTURE AN OXIDE SPUTTER TARGET COMPRISING A FIRST AND SECOND PHASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/003947
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a method to manufacture an oxide sputter target. The method comprises the steps of providing a target holder; applying an outer layer of a sputterable material on the target holder by simultaneously spraying at least one oxide and at least one metal. The outer layer of sputterable material comprises a first phase and a second phase. The first phase comprises an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal; the second phase comprises a metal in its metallic phase. The metal in its metallic phase forms discrete volumes arranged in or between the oxide of the first phase. The outer layer of sputterable material comprises between 0.1 and 20 wt% metal in its metallic phase. The invention further relates to an oxide sputter target.

Inventors:
DELRUE HILDE (BE)
VAN HOLSBEKE JOHNNY (BE)
CARVALHO NUNO (BE)
DE BOSSCHER WILMERT (BE)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2009/058593
Publication Date:
January 14, 2010
Filing Date:
July 07, 2009
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BEKAERT ADVANCED COATINGS (BE)
DELRUE HILDE (BE)
VAN HOLSBEKE JOHNNY (BE)
CARVALHO NUNO (BE)
DE BOSSCHER WILMERT (BE)
International Classes:
C23C14/08; C23C14/34
Foreign References:
US20070131536A12007-06-14
US5480532A1996-01-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MESSELY, Marc (Zwevegem, BE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A method to manufacture a oxide sputter target, said method comprising the steps of

- providing a target holder;

- applying an outer layer of a sputterable material on said target holder by simultaneously spraying at least one oxide and at least one metal, said outer layer comprising a first phase and a second phase, said first phase comprising an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal, said second phase comprising a metal in its metallic phase, whereby said metal in its metallic phase forms discrete volumes arranged in or between said oxide of said first phase, said outer layer comprising between 0.1 and 20 wt% metal in its metallic phase.

2. A method according to claim 1 , whereby said outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 5 wt% metal in its metallic phase, the remainder of said outer layer being oxide.

3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, whereby said metal of said second phase consists of said first metal of said oxide or of said second metal of said oxide.

4. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said first metal of said oxide and/or said second metal of said oxide is/are selected from the group consisting of the elements of group Ha of the periodic system, the elements of group Mb of the periodic system, the elements of group Ilia of the periodic system, the elements of group IVa of the periodic system, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and antimony.

5. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said first metal of said oxide is selected from the group consisting of magnesium, calcium, titanium, zinc, cadmium, gallium, indium and tin.

6. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said second metal of said oxide is selected from the group consisting of magnesium, calcium, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum, zinc, cadmium, boron, aluminium, gallium, indium, germanium, tin and antimony.

7. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said oxide is selected from the group consisting of indium tin oxides, indium zinc oxides, cadmium tin oxides, zinc tin oxides, zinc indium oxides, zinc aluminium oxides, magnesium indium oxides and gallium indium oxides.

8. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said metal of said metallic phase is selected from the group consisting of the elements of group Ma of the periodic system, the elements of group Mb of the periodic system, the elements of group IHa of the periodic system, the elements of group IVa of the periodic system, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and antimony.

9. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said target holder comprises a planar or a tubular target holder.

10. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said method further comprises the step of applying a bond layer on said target holder before the application of said outer layer of a sputterable material.

11.An oxide sputter target comprising a target holder and an outer layer of a sputterable material, said outer layer of a sputterable material obtainable by simultaneously spraying at least one oxide and at least one metal, said outer layer comprising a first phase and a second phase, said first phase comprising an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal, said second phase comprising a metal in its metallic phase, whereby said metal in its metallic phase forms discrete volumes arranged in or between said oxide of said first phase, said outer layer comprising between 0.1 and 20 wt% metal in its metallic phase.

12. An oxide sputter target according to claim 11 , whereby said outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 5 wt% metal in its metallic phase, the remainder of said outer layer being oxide.

13.An oxide sputter target according to claim 11 or 12, whereby said metal of said second phase consists of said first metal of said oxide or of said second metal of said oxide.

14.An oxide sputter target according to any one of claims 11 to 13 method according to any one of the preceding claims, whereby said first metal of said oxide and/or said second metal of said oxide is/are selected from the group consisting of the elements of group Ma of the periodic system, the elements of group lib of the periodic system, the elements of group Ilia of the periodic system, the elements of group IVa of the periodic system, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and antimony.

15. A method according to any one of claims 11 to 14, whereby said target holder comprises a planar or a tubular target holder.

Description:
A method to manufacture an oxide sputter target comprising a first and a second phase

Description

Technical Field

[0001] The invention relates to a method to manufacture an oxide sputter target comprising a first phase comprising an oxide of a first and a second metal and a second phase comprising a metal.

The invention further relates to an oxide sputter target comprising a first phase comprising an oxide of a first and a second metal and a second phase comprising a metal.

Background Art

[0002] Over the last decades magnetron sputtering has become a well-known technique to deposit thin coatings such as metal coatings or ceramic coatings.

[0003] The technique of sputtering is typically used to deposit optical coatings. An important group of optical coatings are the transparent conductive oxides such as indium tin oxide (ITO) as they combine electrical conductivity and optical transparency. Applications range from flat panel displays, smart windows, touch panels, electro-luminescent lamps to EMI shielding applications.

[0004] ITO coatings can be obtained by reactive sputtering of metallic indium tin alloy targets or by non reactive or pseudo reactive sputtering from ceramic oxide targets.

[0005] A drawback of the reactive sputtering of metallic indium tin alloy targets is that an accurate reactive gas control system is required to be able to deposit the desired stoichiometry uniformly over the substrate and to guarantee that the process is stable over time (hysteresis effect). US 2007/0141536 describes a metal target to be used in a reactive sputter process. The hysteresis effect is limited by adding an amount of oxide to the metal target. [0006] Sputtering from an oxide target on the other hand has the drawback that nodules are formed in an eroded part of the surface of the sputter target. These nodules are considered to be low level oxides of indium and/or tin.

[0007] During sputtering the number and size of the nodules increase and they gradually spread over the target surfaces. As the conductivity of the nodules is lower abnormal discharge (arcing) may occur leading to an unstable sputter process and defects in the deposited coating.

[0008] US 5,480,532 describes an oxidic target manufactured by hot isostatic pressing of indium oxide-tin oxide.

Disclosure of Invention

[0009] It is an object of the present invention to provide a method to manufacture an oxide sputter targets avoiding the problems of the prior art. [0010] It is another object of the present invention to provide a sputter target comprising an oxidic phase and a metallic phase. [0011] It is a further object of the invention to provide a sputter target having an increased electrical and thermal conductivity so that the sputter target can be used at high power levels.

[0012] According to a first aspect of the present invention a method to manufacture an oxide sputter target is provided. The method comprises the steps of providing a target holder; applying an outer layer of a sputterable material on said target holder by simultaneously spraying at least one oxide and at least one metal, said outer layer comprising a first phase and a second phase, said first phase comprising an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal; said second phase comprising a metal in its metallic phase; whereby said metal in its metallic phase forms discrete volumes arranged in or between said oxide of said first phase.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment the second phase consists of metal in its metallic phase. [0014] Preferably, the outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 20 wt% metal in its metallic phase. More preferably, the outer layer comprises between 1 and 15 wt% metal in its metallic phase or the outer layer comprises between 1 and 10 wt% metal in its metallic phase.

Most preferably, the outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 5 wt% metal in its metallic phase, for example between 2 and 5 wt% or between 3 and 5wt%, the remainder of the outer layer being said oxide.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment the metal of the metallic phase consists of the first metal of the oxide of the first phase. In an alternative embodiment the metal of the metallic phase consists of the second metal of the oxide of the first phase.

[0016] The first phase of the outer layer is an oxidic phase, whereas the second phase is a metallic phase.

For the purpose of this invention with "oxidic phase" is meant any phase comprising an oxide. With "metallic phase" is meant any phase made of or containing a metal.

[0017] As mentioned above, the metal in its metallic phase forms discrete volumes arranged in or between volumes of the oxide in its oxidic phase. Preferably, the metal in its metallic phase is fully surrounded by volumes of oxide.

This means that two separated phases are present in the outer layer although grain boundaries and/or interdiffusion layers between the two phases can be present. Grain boundaries are interfaces where the two phases meet. Interdiffusion layers are layers where the two phase interdiffuse. However, the interdiffusion layer according to the present invention has a thickness that is limited to a few atomic layers.

[0018] As oxide any oxide of a first metal A and a second metal B can be considered. For the purpose of this invention with an oxide of a first metal A and a second metal B is meant any mixture of an oxide of the first metal with an oxide of the second metal (A x Oy and B x Oy) and any complex oxide of the general fomula A x B y O z either stoichiometeric or non-stoichiometric.

[0019] For example with indium tin oxide is meant any mixture of indium oxide (In x Oy) and tin oxide (Sn x Oy) as for example In2θ3 and SnO2 as well as complex oxides of the formula I n x Sn y O z either stoichimetric or non- stoichiometric.

[0020] In principle any metal can be considered as first metal or as second metal of the oxide of the first phase, i.e. the oxidic phase. Preferably, the first metal and the second metal are selected from the group consisting of the elements of group Ma of the periodic system, the elements of group lib of the periodic system, the elements of group Ilia of the periodic system, the elements of group IVa of the periodic system, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and antimony. Most preferably, the first and/or the second metal comprise magnesium, calcium, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum, zinc, cadmium, boron, aluminium, gallium, indium, germanium, tin or antimony.

[0021] The first metal is preferably selected from the group consisting of magnesium, calcium, titanium, zinc, cadmium, gallium, indium and tin .

[0022] The second metal is preferably selected from the group consisting of magnesium, calcium, titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum, zinc, cadmium, boron, aluminium, gallium, indium, germanium, tin and antimony.

[0023] Preferred oxides of a first and a second metal comprises indium tin oxides such as ln 4 Sn3θi2, indium zinc oxides, cadmium tin oxides, zinc tin oxides such as ZnSnθ3 and Zn 2 SnO 4 , zinc indium oxides such as Zn 2 In 2 Os and Zn3ln 2 θ6, zinc aluminium oxides, magnesium indium oxides MgIn 2 O 4 , gallium indium oxide such as Galnθ3 and (GaIn) 2 Os. [0024] The metal of the metallic phase is preferably selected from the group consisting of the elements of group Ma of the periodic system, the elements of group Mb of the periodic system, the elements of group Ilia of the periodic system, the elements of group IVa of the periodic system and titanium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and antimony. Preferred elements of group Ha, group lib, group Ilia and group IV of the periodic system are magnesium, calcium, zinc, cadmium, boron, aluminium, gallium, indium, germanium and tin. A further preferred metal of the metallic phase is niobium.

[0025] Preferred combinations of the first phase (oxidic phase) and the second phase (metallic phase) are :

- indium tin oxide as oxidic phase and indium as metallic phase;

- indium tin oxide as oxidic phase and tin as metallic phase;

- indium tin oxide as oxidic phase and zinc as metallic phase.

[0026] The target holder of the sputter target according to the present invention may have any shape. Preferred target holders are planar target holders or tubular target holders.

[0027] It can be preferred to apply a bond layer on the target holder before the application of the outer layer of a sputterable material is applied. As bond layer any bond layer known in the art can be considered. Preferred bond layers comprise a metal or a metal alloy.

[0028] According to a second aspect of the present invention a sputter target is provided. The sputter target comprises a target holder and an outer layer of a sputterable material applied on the target holder. The outer layer comprises at least a first phase and a second phase. The first phase comprises an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal; the second phase comprises a metal in its metallic phase. The metal in its metallic phase is thereby forming discrete volumes arranged in or between the oxide of said first phase.

[0029] Preferably, the outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 20 wt% metal in its metallic phase. More preferably, the outer layer comprises between 1 and 15 wt% metal in its metallic phase or the outer layer comprises between 1 and 10 wt% metal in its metallic phase.

Most preferably, the outer layer comprises between 0.1 and 5 wt% metal in its metallic phase, for example between 2 and 5 wt% or between 3 and 5wt%, the remainder of the outer layer being said oxide.

[0030] In a preferred embodiment the metal of the metallic phase consists of the first metal of the oxide of the oxidic phase or of the second metal of the oxide of the oxidic phase.

[0031] The target holder of the sputter target according to the present invention may have any shape. Preferred target holders are planar target holders or tubular target holders.

[0032] An advantage of a sputter target according to the present invention is that during sputtering of such a target nodule formation is avoided. Furthermore, the sputter targets according to the present invention have an increased electrical and thermal conductivity so that these sputter targets can be used at high power levels.

Brief Description of Figures in the Drawings

[0033] The invention will now be described into more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein

- Figure 1 is a cross-section of a first embodiment of a sputter target according to the present invention;

- Figure 2 is a cross-section of a second embodiment of a sputter target according to the present invention. Mode(s) for Carrying Out the Invention

[0034] Referring to Figure 1 a cross-section of a sputter target according to the present invention is described. The outer layer 12 is applied on a target holder 14. The outer layer comprises a first phase 16 and a second phase 18. The first phase 16 is an oxidic phase. The second phase 18 is a metallic phase.

[0035] The first phase 16 comprises an oxide of at least a first metal and a second metal as for example indium tin oxide. In a preferred embodiment the oxidic phase comprises oxide volumes having a splat-like structure.

[0036] The second phase 18 comprises a metal. The metal of the second phase 18 is preferably the first metal of the oxide of the first phase 16 or the second metal of the oxide of the first phase 16. Alternatively, the metal of the second phase 18 comprises a metal other than the first metal or the second metal of the first phase.

[0037] In a preferred embodiment the outer layer of sputterable material comprises indium tin oxide as first phase (oxidic phase) and tin as second phase (metallic phase).

[0038] The metal of the second phase 18 forms discrete volumes arranged between volumes of the oxide of the first phase 16.

[0039] Figure 2 shows a cross-section of an alternative embodiment of a sputter target according to the present invention. An outer layer 22 is applied on a target holder 24. The outer layer comprises a first phase 26 and a second phase 28. The first phase 26 is an oxidic phase. The second phase 28 is a metallic phase.

[0040] The metal in its metallic phase 28 forms discrete volumes arranged in the oxide of the oxidic phase 26.