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 What type of ion source do I need?

A variety of ion source types exist. Confusion often exists when trying to select the correct ion source to suit given process requirements. RF or DC? Gridded or End-Hall Gridless? Ion beam milling, deposition, just substrate precleaning or ion beam assisted deposition? Here we compare the generic gridded Kaufman ion source types.

The table below is intended for guidance and provides a ‘generic’ comparison between typical commercially produced DC and RF Gridded Ion Sources. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and hence, may offer its own merits according to individual current or future anticipated process requirements.

However, it also needs to be noted, that there have recently been many advances made over the traditional source designs featured above. These include novel new RF and DC sources, self-aligning grid optic designs for optimum uniformity and process repeatability and greatly improved maintenance intervals and in-process thermal management.

DC RF Special notes
Cost Moderate High RF more complex
Process Beam Parameters Similar* Similar* *For same size source
Uniformity Similar* Similar* *For same size grid optics
Milling Metals/Semi-conducting Materials Good Good to Moderate
Milling Dielectric Materials Moderate Moderate
Neutraliser Required? Yes Yes HCES/PBN/LFN require high purity Argon gas handling for maximum lifetime
Filaments Yes* No (unless filament type neutraliser is used) *HCES/PBN/LFN option can be used for Neutraliser
Substrate Heating Effects Moderate* Low *Thermal radiation from filaments
Grid Cost/Lifetime Similar Similar
Inert Gas Operation Good* Good *Filament lifetime slightly reduced when operated on N2.
Reactive Gas Operation Poor Good
Filament Lifetime Up to 50 hrs* Not Applicable *Largely dependent on process/duty
Routine Maintenance Primarily for Filament Changing* Plasma Chamber Cleaning** *Simple
**More complex

 View our range of gridless or gridded ion sources