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generated on 02.07.2019

Sputter Technology Conference complements the 10th HIPIMS conference

ST-HIPIMS-Conference 2019

10 years International Conference on Fundamentals and Applications of HIPIMS in Sheffield and Braunschweig; the ST-HIPIMS-Conference was held on 19th and 20th June 2019 at Stadthalle (civic hall)  Braunschweig.


The topical spectrum of the conference has been extended. The conference now covers HIPIMS – High Impulse Magnetron Sputtering – and other sputter techniques, too. Approx. 100 international experts from the field of these coating technologies discussed current developments and applications, e.g. integrated sensor systems, flexible circuits and boraching tools, in oral and poster contributions. In an accompanying industrial exhibition 20 companies presented their products and services in the area of the vacuum and thin film technology.


The next conference will take place on 24th and 25th June in 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

We also look forward to meeting you again in Braunschweig in 2021!

ST-HIPIMS Conference 2019 Young Scientist Awards

The Joint Fraunhofer IST – Sheffield University HIPIMS Research Centre prizes were awarded to four young researchers:


Krishnanand Sahadev Prasad Shukla, National HIPIMS Technology Centre, Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom


HIPIMS Award for the best oral presentation „Tribological properties of low-pressure plasma nitrided CoCrMo alloy using HIPIMS discharge“


CoCrMo is a biomedical grade alloy which is widely used in the manufacturing of orthopaedic implants such as hip and knee replacement joints because it has high hardness, better corrosion resistance, and excellent biocompatibility. However, the major concern is the release of toxic metal ions due to corrosion and wear of the alloy, which causes an allergic reaction in the human body. Over the years various surface modification techniques including nitriding have been used to improve the performance of CoCrMo (F75) alloy.

In the current work, a new low-pressure plasma nitriding process is described. Unlike conventional plasma nitriding, the process utilised HIPIMS discharge sustained on one Cr target at low power to further enhance the ionisation of the gas in the vacuum chamber and avoid coating deposition. The nitriding of CoCrMo alloy has been carried out in a wide range of nitriding voltages (from -500 V to -1100 V) at 4000C. The chemical and phase composition of the nitrided layer has been studied by various advanced surface analyses techniques.  Final results show the HIPIMS nitrided CoCrMo alloy found to have low friction coefficient, superior hardness and better wear resistance.

Julian Held, Experimental Physics II,  Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany


HIPIMS  Award for the best poster „Movement of sputtered particles in the target region of HiPIMS“




High power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) is known to create coatings of higher quality compared to traditional direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS). The reason for this is the high ion metal flux fraction. At the same time, however, the deposition rate with HiPIMS is usually lower.

The reason for the lower deposition rate can be found in the potential structure in the target region. Since the sputtered material is ionized to a high degree, most sputtered particles will be attracted back towards the target surface and are thus unable to reach the substrate. This so-called "return effect" has been described some time ago. However, a detailed examination is still missing. Two aspects were investigated in this work: 1) The influence of collisions on the ion movement and back attraction. 2) The influence of the position, at which the sputtered material gets

ionized in the discharge.

Christian Kipp, Institute for Surface Technology of Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany


Sputtering Award for the best oral presentation „Influence of high voltage discharge on the plasma nitrided zone“



An up-to-date DC PVD power supply, with its wide range of plasma parameters, was used for the well-established plasma nitriding process for surface hardening of steel and stainless steel. Due to its stable arc-management, it was possible to increase the voltage from a typical value of 500 V up to 800 V.  The benefit of high-voltage on long time plasma nitriding processes (16h) is a greater thickness of the compound layer. Between 500 V and 800 V the compound layer growth increased from 8 µm to 12 µm. The nitriding depth also showed a slight increase. A greater effect, however, was achieved in short time  plasma nitriding processes at higher voltage.

The research shows that by increasing the voltage from 500 V to 800 V a significant growth of the compound layer thickness was observed. An increase from 1.9 µm to 8.8 µm was found after 2 hours treatment time and an increase from no compound layer to 5.2 µm after 0.5 hours. A similar compound layer thickness could be produced after 2 hours at 800 V instead of 16 hours at 500 V. In addition, the nitriding depth increased significantly in the short-term process at higher voltage. The thickness rose from 65 µm (500V) to 90 µm (800V) after 2 h and from 10 µm (500V) to 40 µm (800V) after 0.5 h. Therefore, the high voltage has a major influence on the growth of the compound layer and the nitriding depth in short time plasma nitriding processes.

Zuzana  Čiperová, Department of Physics and NTIS - European Centre of Excellence, University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic


Sputtering Award for the best poster „Overstoichiometric TMNx>1 transition metal nitrides“


The work reports on formation of strongly overstochiometric ZrNx>1 and Ti(Al,V)Nx>1 coatings by reactive magnetron sputtering. Problems in the formation of overstoichiometric coatings and possible ways to form strongly overstochiometric TMNx>1 nitride coatings up to TMNx=2 dinitride coatings are discussed; here TM are the transition metals such as Ti, Zr, Mo, Ta, Nb, W, etc. The coating stoichiometry x = N/TM strongly influences its electrical and mechanical properties. The creation and properties of reactively sputtered ZrNx coatings are presented in detail. It was found that (1) the electrical resistivity of the ZrNx coating varies with increasing x from well electrically conducting films with x ≤ 1 through the semi-conducting films with x ranging from 1 to ≤ 1.26 to non-conductive with x ≥ 1.3, showing that the stoichiometry x is a strong parameter which enables to control an electric conductivity of the coating in a wide range; (2) the electrically conductive coatings with x ≤ 1 are harder than the semiconducting and electrically insulating coatings; and (3) the ZrN2 dinitride film cannot be created due to the formation of Zr3N4 phase whose formation enthalpy is greater than that of a ZrN2 phase. Also, it is shown that a main problem in the formation of strongly overstoichiometric TMNx>1 and dinitride TMN2 coatings is a strong increase of ionization of the nitrogen sputtering gas to achieve a necessary high ratio N/TM > 1.