International training school on HIPIMS a great success!

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International training school on HIPIMS a great success!

Friday 07 December 2012

High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS), a new development in the field of PVD coatings, is generating a lot of interest from industry and academia. Being a relatively new research area, many fundamentals and research findings have not yet reached a wider audience. 

To address this need, a training school on HIPIMS was organised by Professor Arutiun Ehiasarian from the Joint Sheffield Hallam University - Fraunhofer IST HIPIMS Research Centre based at Sheffield Hallam University and funded by COST action MP0804 (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). 

The 3-day training school, from 3 to 5 December 2012, was organised to disseminate HIPIMS basics and latest research findings. Attendees, from PhD students and early stage researchers to experienced researchers from organisations in 8 different European countries, came to Sheffield to broaden and transfer their knowledge on the HIPIMS process and make it a truly international event.

Attendees were able to learn about the basic principles of the HIPIMS process and plasma analytical techniques. Professor Ehiasarian opened the event with a lecture titled 'Current-Voltage characteristics of the HIPIMS discharge' which also included a live demonstration via a remote desktop link with full process control. 

Professor J Bradley (University of Liverpool) introduced Langmuir Probe diagnostics as a technique to measure plasma properties and Dr Y Gonzalvo of Hiden Analytical Ltd provided live demonstrations of Langmuir Probe and Plasma - Sampling Mass Spectroscopy measurements. 

Dr. S. Konstantinidis (Universite de Mons-Hainaut, Belgium) gave a lecture and demonstration on Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Optical Emission Spectroscopy. In his lecture Dr T Kubart (University of Uppsala, Sweden) highlighted the challenges that can be faced when sputtering reactive oxides. A demonstration in cooperation with Gencoa Ltd. visualised the effects of target poisoning and showed ways to work in these regimes. 

Dr A Pflug (Fraunhofer IST, Germany) gave an overview of what is currently possible with modelling of plasma discharges. H Gerdes (Fraunhofer IST) also gave a lecture on the 'Deposition of oxide films by HIPIMS'. The training school concluded with a lecture on 'Deposition of monolithic, nanolayer and nanocomposite nitrides by HIPIMS' given by Professor P Hovsepian (Hallam).

Highlights of the lectures were live experiment demonstrations from the laboratory to the audience in the lecture room. The audience and trainers were able to manipulate the experimental parameters, such as voltage, current and pulse settings on the HIPIMS power supplies, mass spectrometer and OES settings, plasma emission monitor and oscilloscope. They also had the opportunity to perform 'hands-on' experiments via a remote computer link to the lab and get a feeling for the influence of various settings on the plasma and analytical procedures. The technology pioneered by Professor Ehiasarian opens perspectives for provision of comprehensive online training in plasma diagnostics which will benefit the large PVD community worldwide.

The attendees benefited from the rich experience and knowledge of the trainers on topics related to HIPIMS such as plasma diagnostics, latest advancements in the analytical techniques, reactive sputtering of oxides and nitrides with greater process control and on plasma modelling. What made the event remarkable was not only the high quality of presentations, but also the fact that the speakers were a mix of academics and industry representatives, thus highlighting different points of view.

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