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a research group of the department of Solid State Sciences, Ghent University

The facilities of our research group focus on three topics: magnetron sputter deposition, thin film characterisation and simulation packages.

  • 10 Vacuum chambers, equipped with home developed Magnetron Sputter Sources:

Small planar, circular magnetron
target diameter: 1 inch

Planar, circular magnetron
target diameter: 2 inch

Planar, circular magnetron with in-situ tunable magnet field arary (from strong underbalanced, to strong overbalanced)
target diameter: 2 inch

Semi-industrial planar magnetron
target diameter : 11x38 cm

Small-scale rotating cylindrical magnetron
target diameter: 4.5 cm, target length: 18 cm.

Semi-industrial rotating cylindrical magnetron
target diameter: 14 cm, target length: 45 cm.

  • Sample characterisation:

    Scanning Electron Microscopy (Quantafeg, FEI), equipped with EDX (EDAX) and EBSD (TSL).
    This Electron Microscope allows the user to visualize the samples with a magnification up 1.000.000 times. Our microscope allows working at low-vacuum and ESEM mode, allowing non-conducting or biological samples to be examined. With EDX, the chemical composition of your sample can be determined. Also mappings can be carried out. Finally, EBSD is a microstructural-crystallographic technique used to elucidate the crystallographic texture or preferred orientation of any crystalline or polycrystalline sample. Grains with a range down to ~50 nm can be measured.
    X-Ray Diffraction (D8, Brüker), equipped with an euler-cradle.
    X-Ray diffraction allows to characterise the crystallographic properties of your sample and measure the out-of-plane and in-plane (due to the euler-cradle) orientation of the thin film. In X-Ray Reflective mode, the film thickness can be determined.
    X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (Perkin-Ellmer).
    XPS is a quantitative technique which measures the chemical state and the electronic state of the elements that exist in your sample. It is a surface chemical analysis technique that allows the user to determine the stoichiometry, composition and chemical state of your sample surface in "as-received" state, or from the bulk of the sample after ion-etching.

  • Plasma characterisation:

    Energy resolved mass spectrometry (Hiden), allows to measure the energy and mass dictribution of neutrals, positive ions and negative ions in the plasma up to 1000 eV.
    Langmuir probe (Hiden), allows to measure the plasma properties, i.e. plasma potential, floating potential, electron density, ion density, electron temperature and the EEDF. 
    Retarding Field Energy Analyser (Impedans), which allows you to measure the flux and energy distribution of the ions towards a grounded or DC biased susbtrate.

  • Simulation codes:

    Up to now, trial versions of simulation codes were developed to simulate:
    -the magnetron discharge (allows the user to understand the influence of pressure, magnet array, target material,... on the discharge properties such as discharge voltage, race-track formation,...)
    -the reactive sputter process (allows the user to understand the influence of adding a reactive gas on the discharge and deposition process as a function of pressure, deposition geometry, discharge current, pumping speed...)
    -the transport of sputtered particles through the gas phase (allows the user to simulate the deposition profile and the properties of the incoming metallic flux as a function of several deposition conditions) 
    Further research to the development of these codes is carried out in an SBO project (Complex Oxide Deposition). If more information about these codes is wanted, please contact us by means of the contact form (contact).


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