Magnetron sputtering deposition is a fast technique for applying a thin layer of inorganic materials on a substrate, such as ITO or metallic contacts. The magnetron ionizes argon gas which then accelerates towards the cathode where the target materials is located. The stream of argon ions erodes away the target material making a charged cloud which then deposits on the substrate located at the anode.
Magnetron sputtering is very versatile and can be used to apply just about any material. It is especially well suited to materials with a high melting point which would be difficult to melt in a normal vacuum thermal deposition system. It is often used to coating entire surfaces because it is difficult to control where the material go precisely. Adhesion is excellent.
Video featuring 2015 Clean Energy Fellow Mark Miller