Researchers at Russia‘s National Research Nuclear University have developed a novel plasma generator. The device emits high-energy electron pulses using an impulse magnetron to evaporate material and direct it onto a substrate.
The intense high-current pulses are created by shooting a stream of electrons through a magnetic field onto a liquid target. For their experiments, physicists at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute used a liquid copper target.
Efficient processes for the application of super thin metal and dielectric films are highly sought after in electronics and machine-building, as well as architecture. The new plasma generator could be used to apply a hard coating to sharp cutting tools or metallizing special optical filters.
The new technology combines the advantages of previous plasma coating techniques: high-power impulse magnetron sputtering and current pulse magnetron discharge, both of which were effective but slow and more energy intensive.
“We managed to unite the advantages of both technologies in the created device for radiation of pulse magnetron discharge with a melted cathode,” MEPhI engineer Alexander Tumarkin said in a news release.
Researchers are currently working out the details of how their device can be incorporated into industrial applications.