Date of this Version
United States Patent No.: US 6,572,933 B1 Jun. 3, 2003
Process for forming abherent coatings using plasma processing. Plasma Immersion Ion Processing (PIIP) is a process where energetic (hundreds of eV to many tens of keV) metallic and metalloid ions derived from high-vapor-pressure organometallic compounds in a plasma environment are employed to desposit coatings on suitable substrates, which coatings are subsequently relieved of stress using inert ion bombardment, also in a plasma environment, producing thereby strongly adherent coatings having chosen composition, thickness and density. Four processes are utilized: sputter-cleaning, ion implantation, material deposition, and coating stress relief. Targets are placed directly in a plasma and pulse biased to generate a non-line-of-sight deposition without the need for complex fixturing. If the bias is a relatively high negative potential (20 kV-100 kV) ion implantation will result. At lower voltages (50 V-10 kV), deposition occurs, and the extent of the surface modification can routinely be extended between 1 um and 10 um. By combining plasma based implantation and film deposition, coatings with greatly reduced stress are possible, allowing the ultimate coating thickness to be expanded to tens of microns.