Thin film deposition technologies are of paramount importance in today’s fast growing industrial world of microelectronics, optics and space technologies. They allow the physical, chemical, electric, magnetic, mechanical properties, and surface morphology of materials to be modified without altering the composition and microstructure of the bulk material. A 2–dimensional layer of any material, with thicknesses ranging from a few atomic layers to microns, are qualified as thin films. Most often, thin films are deposited in plasma environment.
The uniqueness of plasma assisted deposition processes lies in their ability to synthesize complex films at relatively low substrate temperatures. These processes enable film properties to be varied over a wide range by controlling the plasma conditions and the plasma’s interaction with the material surface. For example, by source varying power, the ion density and electron temperature can be changed, which impacts the deposition rate and the balance of chemistry in the deposition environment. Broadly, plasma assisted thin film deposition techniques can be categorized in three groups, namely, Sputtering, Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) and Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD).
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