Sputtering Overview

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ESPI offers sputtering targets made up of many different element’s and/or alloys as well as in numerous other forms and purities; up to 6N (99.9999%), including:










Custom Fabricated Parts





All forms can be manufactured to custom specifications. Or, for those time critical applications where standard sizes will meet project requirements, take advantage of ESPI’s Ready-To-Ship (RTS) program. ESPI stocks pre-fabricated items in foil and sheet that are available for same day shipment.* To view the Ready to Ship products, click here. For a quotation, call, e-mail or click "Chat Now" to the right for immediate assistance.

* Order must be received by 1:00 pm Pacific


Sputtering is a vacuum evaporation process which physically removes portions of a coating material called the target, and deposits a thin, firmly bonded film onto an adjacent surface called the substrate. The process occurs by bombarding the surface of the sputtering target with gaseous ions under high voltage acceleration. As these ions collide with the target, atoms or occasionally entire molecules of the target material are ejected and propelled against the substrate, where they form a very tight bond. The resulting coating is held firmly to the surface by mechanical forces, although, in some cases, and alloy or chemical bond may result.

Sputtering has proven to be a successful method of coating a variety of substrates with thin films of electrically conductive or non-conductive materials. One of the most striking characteristics of sputtering is its universality. Since the coating material is passed into the vapor phase by a mechanical rather than a chemical or thermal process, virtually any material can be deposited. Direct current is used to sputter conductive materials, while radio frequency is used for non-conductive materials. The range of sputtering application is large. Current applications of great importance include thin films of:      

              * Magnetic materials for data storage tapes. Typical materials are Co-Ni, Tb-Fe and Co-Ni-Cr.

              * Optical materials for lens characteristics. Typical materials are CeO2, MgO and MgF2.

              * Lubricant materials for reducing friction. Typical materials are MoS2, WS2, and PTFE.

              * Wear-resistant materials to lengthen cutting tool life. Typical materials are TiN, TiC, and ZrB2.

              * Metallizing materials for microcircuits. Typical materials are Al, W-Ti, Al-Si and Al-Cu.

              * Transparent conducting materials. The most typical material is xLn2O3 -ySnO2.

              * Thin-film resistors. Typical materials are Ni-Cr, Cr-Si and Cr- SiO.

              * Amorphous bubble memory devices.
                Typical materials are Gd-Co. Lu3Fe5O12, and Gd3Ga5O12.           

              * Microcircuit mask blanks. The most typical material is Cr.

Additional applications include oxide microcircuit insulation layers, amorphous optical films for integrated optics devices, piezoelectric transducers, photoconductors, luminescent films for display devices, optically addressed memory devices, video discs, solid electrolytes and thin film lasers.

Workmanship Standards

Where not specified in the purchase order or contract, ESPI shall apply standard workmanship tolerances. Rounds (rod, wire, etc): +/-10% for diameter and length. Profiles (plate, sheet, foil, etc): +/- 10% for thickness, width and length. Other non-machined solids (powder, shot, pieces, etc): +/-10% for weight, +/-25% for size.


Material purities indicate a minimum allowable purity. Purities may be higher than stated in the material description based on availability.  Rare Earth purities are based upon rare earth contaminants.  Metal purities are reported on a metals basis; zirconium purity excludes Hf.  Purities of fabricated metal products are generally based on ingot chemistry.

Quality Assurance

ESPI's comprehensive line of high-purity metals, alloys, and chemical compounds are distributed to scientists worldwide. Trust has been earned by our customers in maintaining a strong commitment to quality and excellence. All materials listed in the catalog are thoroughly tested by our quality control department. The figures given as typical analyses have been compiled through an average of previous batches.  They are provided as a guide to the nature and extent of the impurities which may be expected and may vary from batch to batch. Actual material analyses will be provided free of charge upon request for those items which have had analysis work conducted in the normal course of production.  For those items for which no analysis has been conducted, an analysis will be provided for a charge.